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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.
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    Keep scrolling - the Q&A is below.





  • Can next in line call the discard?

    >From: Judith B
    >Sent: Friday, May 20, 2016 2:15 PM
    >Subject: Legal draw?
    >I'm learning American mah Jong - the group I've joined (mostly new players) besides picking tiles from the wall and calling discards, permit the player after the discarding player to pick up the discard rather than picking from the wall. Is this legal?
    >Judy B. Thank you

    Hi, Judy. Your email was in my spam folder, which is why it took so long for me to find it and reply.

    the group I've joined ... permit the player after the discarding player to pick up the discard rather than picking from the wall. Is this legal?
    If I understand your question, you're questioning whether a discard may be called by ANY player at the table (even the person whose turn follows the discarder). If I understand your question correctly, my answer is "of course - why shouldn't that player be permitted to do what either other player is permitted to do?" The only person who cannot call the fresh discard is the discarder herself.

    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
    May 26, 2016


    Using zero as an even number and/or in Consecutive Runs

    >From: ROBERT A
    >Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2016 5:35 PM
    >Subject: Fwd: Valid Mah Jongg hands
    >----- Forwarded Message -----
    > --- the forwarded message follows ---
    >----- Forwarded Message -----
    > --- the forwarded message follows ---
    >I am waiting again for a response to my second letter to the NMJL.
    >PLEASE refer to the attached copy of that letter. I would like your
    >opinion. My basic question is - using just one hand as the example; as
    >per existing 2016 NMJL rules for use of the White Dragon: Is the
    >following hand - which I presented as a Mah Jongg - FF 000 111 222 333
    >a valid Mah Jong? Since I presented that hand in early April most
    >players now support the reasoning that it is. The mere fact that the
    >NMJL has never printed hands to demonstrate using the White Dragon as
    >the even number zero or never had a clear and definitive rule that
    >states the White Dragon can only be used in year hands AND they do not
    >like the idea of having players using many Jokers to create a Mah
    >Jongg..... Last week in tournament play I had 7 Jokers in a Mah Jongg
    >hand. Enough said.. What is your opinion based on the long standing
    >NMJL rules that state the White Dragon MUST be used a the even number
    >Zero (0) and MAY (permissive) be use in any of the three suits. Thank
    >You. Have a good day, Bob A.

    >
    >Filename: May 2016 President Letter.docx
    >May 2, 2016
    >President
    >National Mah Jongg League, Inc.
    >450 Seventh Avenue
    >New York City
    >New York
    >Dear President:
    >First I would like to say; I thank the “League” for responding to my letter dated April 2016 regarding the use of the White Dragon as the number zero in any Mah Jongg hand.
    >Secondly, I would like you to know the response from the “League” has been viewed by many as unofficial, and perhaps even drafted by myself, since it was not on official National Mah Jongg League, Inc. stationary. It was on plain paper and not signed by the author. One does think an organization with such a huge membership would have official printed stationary.
    >Regardless, I was happy to realize the League does agree that I have, for many years, read the rules properly with regard to the White Dragon being used as the even number zero, without prejudice.
    >I am less happy to be left confused that the “League” finds it “difficult to sanction hands that require five or more jokers in order for a Mah Jongg to be made.” Having to use five or more jokers is not the issue of concern. I find the greater the challenge the more fun it is to try and complete a hand.
    >Tradition seems to prevent a more definitive response that would assure a completed hand such as FF 000 111 222 333 is in fact a valid Mah Jongg, as per existing rules.
    >The “League” response stated “It might be clearer to state that white dragons may only be used as zeros in those hands involving the current year, and in no other hands.” However, for as long as I can remember the white dragon could have been used in any hand as the even number zero.
    >I had no intention to be critical, I was, and still seek definitive clarification. In the future, it might be easier to leave the rules as is and not discriminate against the number zero. In my opinion it would be easy to educate players by simply printing one hand in each group that would easily demonstrate the use of the white dragon as a zero. This would leave all National Mah Jongg League players to decide on their own if they want to try for a hand that would require any number of jokers, up to all eight (8), in order to complete.
    >Thank You again.
    >
    >Filename: FF 000 111 222 333.docx
    >CHATHAM MAH JONGG – SPECIAL HANDS
    >X 35 NN 00 SS EE 111 222
    >X 35 WW 00 EE SS 111 222
    >C 40 FF 00 11 22 33 44 DD
    >X 45 FF 000 111 222 333
    >X 50 0000 11 11 11 2222
    >X 75 0000 11111 22222
    >C 100 WE WON 10 10 WE WON (can use 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90)
    >C 150 00 DD 000 DDD 0000 (requires use of 5 Jokers)

    Hi, Bob.
    To reply to what you said to me:

    I would like your
    >opinion. My basic question is - using just one hand as the example; as
    >per existing 2016 NMJL rules for use of the White Dragon: Is the
    >following hand - which I presented as a Mah Jongg - FF 000 111 222 333
    >a valid Mah Jong?
    No. As I wrote in FAQ 19-BH, the League clearly intends white dragon to be used as zero ONLY where a 0 is shown on the card.

      The use of white dragons as zeroes is the solution to the League's problem "how do we make a year that has a zero in it?" It's also conceivable that the League might make a hand that uses tens or something, like: FFFF 5555 + 5555 = 10

    Since I presented that hand in early April most
    >players now support the reasoning that it is.
    I don't know where you presented it, or to whom, and I don't know the size of the sample you polled. But I disagree, and I believe the majority of my readers will also disagree with you on this.

    AND they do not
    >like the idea of having players using many Jokers to create a Mah
    >Jongg.....
    Who is "they"? The League?

    Last week in tournament play I had 7 Jokers in a Mah Jongg
    >hand. Enough said..
    What's your point? You may have as many as 8 jokers.

    What is your opinion based on the long standing
    >NMJL rules that state the White Dragon MUST be used a the even number
    >Zero (0) and MAY (permissive) be use in any of the three suits.
    When you see a 0 on the card, the only tile you may use for that is soap. When soap is used as zero, it's suitless.

    CHATHAM MAH JONGG – SPECIAL HANDS
    I don't know why you sent me this. You didn't mention if Chatham is a person, a facility, or a city... Anyway, anyone can make up special table rules, as I wrote in FAQ 14. If you make up your own rules, the League is not in charge of your game's rules any longer. 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
    May 26, 2016


    Donation, part 2

    >From: Elisegk
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 10:43 AM
    >Subject: Re: Notification of donation received
    >You are welcome. I really enjoy your column and am happy to make a donation !


    Can't get the "nav frame" to show up

    >From: "pleusink
    >Sent: Monday, May 23, 2016 8:36 PM
    >Subject: nav frame
    >I assume by nav frame you mean a search box.....? If so, none comes up no matter how many times I click on the line asking me to. ;( Soooo much info on the site, very difficult to find subjects (such as concealed game)!
    >Thanks for possible help.
    >Penny L
    >Wisconsin

    Hi, Penny.
    The nav frame isn't a search box. It's a vertical list of the titles of all the FAQs and bulletin boards, and it's shown on the left side of the screen (to the left of the main content frame where an FAQ or a column is displayed). If you are never shown a vertical list of links at the left side of the screen and you want help making that appear, you'll need to tell me what kind of device you're using (is it a desktop/laptop, or is it a small smartphone, is it a tablet computer, is it an older featurephone) and where you are when trying to access the nav frame (what URL), and a screen shot would also help me help you.
    You mentioned that you were looking for information on "concealed game"? If you tell me what you're looking for, I can either point you to the FAQ or give you an answer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    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.
    Rochester, NY, USA

    May 24, 2016


    Donation

    >From: Elise K via PayPal
    >Sent: Monday, May 23, 2016 8:36 PM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    >PayPal
    >You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Elise K (elisegk
    >View the details of this transaction online
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Confirmation number:
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Elise K
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal
    >Copyright © 1999-2016 PayPal. All rights reserved.

    Thank you, Elise!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    Column 652, part 4

    >From: Elisegk
    >To: tom@sloperama.com
    >Sent: Monday, May 23, 2016 8:30 PM
    >Subject: Re: another suggestion for hand #7 in col 652
    >yes, I would have passed 5d, south, 9 crack, so would have still kept some of the other options alive!!

    Gotcha, Elise. That's a fine option. Some folks are intimidated by concealed hands.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    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.
    Rochester, NY, USA

    May 24, 2016


    Column 652, part 3

    >From: "lindaz...
    >Sent: Monday, May 23, 2016 6:36 AM
    >Subject: column 652
    >Hi Tom,
    >For problem # 6, there are 7 tiles toward CR #6 in bams. They are also useful for CR # 1 (6 tiles) as another option.
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi Linda,
    Yes, Consec. #6 is a good option. So you'd have to keep a flower, which means you'd have to give up one of the options I mentioned in the column. Not Consec. #1, I gather.
    - Consec. #1: 6 tiles
    - Consec. #2: 5 tiles
    - Consec. #4: 6 tiles
    Since Consec. #2 is outnumbered, I presume that's the one you'd kill. So what 3 tiles would you pass?
    As I alluded in my response to Elise last night (below), when going for a concealed hand, a one-tile advantage is cancelled out by the concealment requirement. A 7-tile concealed hand is about the same as a 6-tile exposed hand. If I had a 2-tile lead for a concealed hand, then that would definitely sway me.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    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.
    Rochester, NY, USA

    May 23, 2016


    Column 652, part 2

    >From: Elisegk
    >Sent: Sunday, May 22, 2016 6:57 PM
    >Subject: another suggestion for hand #7 in col 652
    >There are 6 tiles toward the closed 2016 hand: FF, two 1 dots, one 6 dot and a white so I would have kept the 6 dot and passed the 5 dot instead!

    Hi, Elise.
    Not sure what three tiles you would pass. It's unclear if you saw Barbara's email about the 369 option. Were you saying you would pass 5D 9C and S (working off my initial pass of 6D 9C S which also kept other options open but ignored the 369 option Elise pointed out)? Or just go for 2016 and ignore all those lesser options? What about the fact that going just for the 2016 hand means never calling someone's discard (Concealed hands being harder, which needs to be taken into consideration when bypassing "lesser" but exposable options)?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    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.
    Rochester, NY, USA

    May 22, 2016


    Column 652

    >From: Barbara B
    >Sent: Friday, May 20, 2016 8:27 AM
    >Subject: Charleston - Column #652
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am puzzled about your analysis of hand #7. I agree on the Odds #5,
    >but don't understand why you would pick Elevens or Like Numbers, with
    >no pairs other than Flowers and no 7s. My thoughts were: Odds #5 and
    >369 #3 (long shot, but let's face it: everything with this hand is a
    >long shot). I usually hang onto Whites, at least through the first
    >round (and a 2016 is also a possible, though another long-shot).
    >Of course, all this analysis leaves me with nothing to throw; I
    >decided to keep the Odds and 369s alive, discarding 2D, 5D and S.
    >What do you think?
    >Barbara

    Hi, Barbara. Let's take your email point by point:

    don't understand why you would pick Elevens or Like Numbers
    With three ones, we have five tiles (as many as we have with Odds #5). With the 9C, we have five tiles towards Elevens #1 (again, five tiles) - but then I recommended discarding the 9C anyway, so moot point.

    369 #3 (long shot
    That's good, actually. 3B 6D 9C - again, five tiles with the flowers.

    Of course, all this analysis leaves me with nothing to throw
    Could pass 5D S and soap.

    discarding 2D, 5D and S.
    What 2D? (^_^) I like 5D S and soap as an alternative pass. But I agree with you that passing soaps goes against the grain on the first right.
    I'm appending this to column 652. 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
    May 20, 2016


    Who gets a discard, part 2

    Odette, my apologies! When I first responded to your email (below,) I totally missed part of your question:

    >Also I think this answer may be in error for Question 1.
    >http://www.sloperama.com/images/letb.gifhttp://www.sloperama.com/images/letl.gifQ: Am I required to put a tile in my rack? Three variations on this question:
    >>(1) We have a player who picks a tile, then discards a tile without ever putting the picked tile on her rack. Is she allowed to do that? Aren't we always required to rack the tile after picking it?
    >>A.1. No. There is no rule that says a player must rack before discarding.
    >I was always taught that you had to have 13 tiles in your rack at all times. If you do not rack your picked tile, when you discard, you only have 12 tiles on your rack with one
    >on the table. I was always told in a Tournament you would be called dead if you did this. Please let me know.

    Sorry I missed that part of your question, Odette. To clarify for other readers, you were asking about FAQ 19-BL, part 1.
    A player does always have 13 tiles in the hand at all times, except when it's her turn and she acquires a 14th tile briefly. Picking a tile from the wall is one way to acquire a 14th tile. As I wrote, there is no rule that says that the player must put that 14th tile into the hand - she is permitted to discard it if she so desires.
    Now I've addressed your question. And now I'm going to say more (which might result in further discussion with a reader of this board, which includes you)...
    Discarding the picked tile without racking doesn't close the window of opportunity on the previous discard, but that only matters to highly aggressive in-your-face players (or fraidy-cat beginner players who overestimate the likelihood of picking a joker from the wall, and have not learned to feel a joker with the fingertips). And it's for this reason that many players assume that it's wrong to discard the picked tile without racking it.
    A player must have 14 tiles in the hand in order to declare mah-jongg (all mah-jongg hands require 14 tiles). A player has 13 tiles in the hand most of the time, bringing the 14th tile into the hand on each turn (without which she would never have the ability to make mah-jongg).
    Scroll down to read my reply to your first question. (These posts are in reverse chronological order.)
    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
    May 19, 2016


    Who gets a discard if two want it for the same thing? (Conflicting claim)

    >From: "obythec
    >Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2016 2:43 PM
    >Subject: Question
    >I have not seen anything on this topic. It came up for the first time in 5 years that I have played. I would love to know your thoughts on this.
    >During a MJ tournament, East threw out a Flower. Before anyone could say anything, West (directly across from her) pushed 3 Flowers to expose them on her rack in one fell swoop with her hand BEFORE
    >calling for it. After they were exposed she then proceeded to call the flower. The next person whose turn it was supposed to be wanted the Flower. The lady who exposed her 3 Flowers said it was hers because she exposed her 3 Flowers.
    >The Tournament director said the person who exposed the 3 Flowers should get it even though it was the other person's turn next.
    >I do not agree with this ruling. It should be the next person's turn to the right of East. Am I wrong?
    >Also I think this answer may be in error for Question 1.
    >http://www.sloperama.com/images/letb.gifhttp://www.sloperama.com/images/letl.gifQ: Am I required to put a tile in my rack? Three variations on this question:
    >(1) We have a player who picks a tile, then discards a tile without ever putting the picked tile on her rack. Is she allowed to do that? Aren't we always required to rack the tile after picking it?
    >A.1. No. There is no rule that says a player must rack before discarding.
    >I was always taught that you had to have 13 tiles in your rack at all times. If you do not rack your picked tile, when you discard, you only have 12 tiles on your rack with one
    >on the table. I was always told in a Tournament you would be called dead if you did this. Please let me know.
    >I appreciate your thoughts as I am always learning.
    >Best regards,
    >Odette L

    Hi, Odette.
    The player, West, who hurriedly exposed her tiles was aggressive and unkind, but I assume she must have read the 2007 and/or 2013 newsletters from the League. Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-H. 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 list of 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!
    The League's rule is probably intended to cover a situation in which the next-in-line was slow to speak, but the way the rule is worded, your tournament organizer was correct. If you want to get confirmation from the League, write them (don't call). See FAQ 19-BN.
    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
    May 19, 2016


    When is a discard "down" (and can't be taken back)?

    >From: Clement M
    >Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2016 3:10 PM
    >Subject: Mahjongg Question
    >If a player takes a tile out of his rack to discard and has it in his hand and calls it (such as 3 Bam) and another player says, ' I want that', can the first player with the tile then say 'I don't want to give that" and change the tile they are going to put down?
    >This happened during our play and the player said since they did not put it on the table they could change it even though another player called for it after the tile had been named, or do they have to continue discarding that particular tile since it had been named and called for by another player already?
    >Thank you.
    >Appreciate your taking the time to answer this.

    Hi, Clement.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-A. 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 list of 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
    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
    May 19, 2016


    Putting two and two together

    Sometimes seemingly unrelated bits of information go unrecognized as being related after all. So it is with Ray L's post of May 17 and Marcia W's post of March 12. Marcia described a mysterious new variant form of mah-jongg called "The Complete Year," which included a new fourth dragon tile called "the Golden Dragon." She described it as "a tile with a rhinestone glued to the middle." And Ray provided a link to an image of just such a tile, the infrequently found shiro potchi (白ポッチ) of Japanese mah-jongg.

    A year ago, I'd written an article for Mahjong Collector magazine, mentioning such a tile - but was unable to find a photo at that time. I suppose that a Japanese set with shiro potchi would have included just one (replacing a regular blank tile, which is what the Japanese use for white dragon), but "The Complete Year" would need four of 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
    May 19, 2016


    Explaining one mystery, part 2

    >From: Raymond L
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 2:12 PM
    >Subject: More obscure dora tiles and the Thai set
    >Hi Tom,
    >Here's a followup on the white potchi tile. If you go on google image search and put in 白ポッチ 麻雀 you will find some that look like Adam's and all sorts of rare dora tiles like green and gold 5s. I believe they're parlor house tiles. I found one website that makes custom tiles: http://www.1kawaya.com/mj/custom/bees01.html
    >Moving on to another topic is the rare and mysterious Thai set. I've never found the rules which I believe may have gone extinct. After several years I've only managed to find one small photo of that set at the Japanese mahjong museum's website: http://museum.takeshobo.co.jp/houmotsu/world/asia/index.html
    >I'll do a rough translation:
    >"Plastic Thai mahjong tiles are manufactured in Hong Kong. There are many flower tiles [sic includes jokers], 8 groups of 32 tiles. 「春夏秋冬」 (seasons), 「梅蘭菊竹」 (the four gentlemen flowers), 「漁樵耕読」 (four noble professions), 「琴棋書画」 (four scholarly arts) along with Zhao Gongming and his treasure pot, Jiang Ziya and the fish, rooster and the centipede, and the cat and the rat from the "cornered rat". Furthermore there are the almighty tiles 「花合喜元」「総萬筒索」 [they are identical to the Vietnamese jokers], which are examples of the many flowers."
    >
    >This explains some of the mystery tiles in FAQ 7e like the fisherman and the fish. The rooster and the centipede and the cat and rat are also Chinese folktales that you can online. Turning our attention the the jokers, you will find that they are exactly like the eight in the Vietnamese set. If you remember, these eight are nearly identical to the Changsha wang maque that Michael Stanwick and Hongbing Xu wrote about here: http://www.themahjongtileset.co.uk/tile-set-history/flowers-and-kings-an-hypothesis-of-their-function-in-early-ma-que/
    >
    >The only difference is that instead of a 陞 joker in wang maque, there is a 花 (flower) joker. In wang maque, 陞and 総 can act as any suit or honor tile but not as flower tiles. In Vietnam, the 総 can also act as a flower while the 花 joker behaves just like the animal flowers in Singapore and Malaysia. I do not know the origin of the animal tiles in SE Asia, it's best to consult with Thierry Depaulis or Stanwick on this issue. The strange thing about the Thai set is that it seems to be a combination of the 164 tile Malaysian set with the Vietnamese set. As the Thai set already has eight animals, the flower joker would just be the ninth animal but as we don't know the rules we can't be sure. As I can't make a table on email, I'm sending an excel sheet comparing the various sets of SE Asia.
    >
    >I've also included the northern Chinese game of hua maque into the spreadsheet. Stanwick reports that there is a "no honors no flowers" hand just like in Vietnamese game but is played with 16 tiles at hand like in Taiwan and the Philippines. Best regards,
    >Ray L.


    Hi, Ray.
    You wrote:

    If you go on google image search and put in 白ポッチ 麻雀 you will find some[.]
    Cool! Until you told me the name of the haku dora tile yesterday, I wouldn't have known to do that.

    another topic is the rare and mysterious Thai set. I've never found the rules which I believe may have gone extinct. After several years I've only managed to find one small photo of that set at the Japanese mahjong museum's website:
    That photo is indeed small! The full-size image is in the Mahjong Museum's beautiful MAJAN HAKUBUTSUKAN DAI ZUROKU ("Illustrated Book of the Mah-Jongg Museum," or "Mah-Jongg Museum Big Encyclopedia"), which I list in FAQ 3. I have a copy of the book, which is extremely rare. I didn't want to break the book's spine and scan the image, so I took a photo of the image with my iPhone. I don't like the images on this board to be larger than 400 pixels in either direction, so my apologies that this is shrunk:

    All the other tiles in the image are ordinary mah-jongg tiles, so I just zoomed in on the meaty portion (flowers and jokers).

    I'll do a rough translation:
    >"Plastic Thai mahjong tiles are manufactured in Hong Kong...
    My book is in both Japanese and English, but the English is always less detailed than the Japanese. But thank you for the translation. Essentially, the set has 16 flowers plus the Singapore-style flowers plus the 8 basic Vietnamese jokers.

    This explains some of the mystery tiles in FAQ 7e like the fisherman and the fish. The rooster and the centipede and the cat and rat are also Chinese folktales that you can online.
    That's nice to know! I've always just referred to them as "Singapore style" because in Singapore they have a documented use for those tiles.

    I'm sending an excel sheet comparing the various sets of SE Asia.
    >I've also included the northern Chinese game of hua maque
    Thanks. It never occurred to me to make such a grid for comparison.

    By the way, perhaps it's helpful to explain why I call FAQ 7E "the mystery tiles FAQ." I often get people writing me and saying, "I have a mah-jongg set and I've figured out what most of the tiles are, but some of the tiles are a mystery!" Those tiles aren't so much a mystery to me - I explain what they are in the FAQ. And now I'll add this email to 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
    May 18, 2016


    Explaining one mystery

    >From: Raymond L
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 2:24 PM
    >Subject: Explanation of Adam's special unknown tiles
    >Hi Tom,
    >I've been going through your FAQ's and noticed an old mystery from 2005. Allow me to shed some light on the rhinestone star tile first. The set was made by Nintendo so logically it might have been a Japanese mahjong set. Remember Nicholas Cheung's 2012 alert that there are lesser known variants that contained red 3s and 7s? There's also red white dragons! They are called 白ポッチ (shiro potchi) in Japanese. These two websites will provide more information:
    >The first is the Japanese wiki for dora.
    >https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%89%E3%83%A9_%28%E9%BA%BB%E9%9B%80%29
    >The second shows a tile that's almost like Adam's.
    >http://arcturus.su/wiki/Dora
    >The second tile is a bit more puzzling. 皇 means emperor which is also found in Vietnamese flower tiles. You suggested that it could mean white king (白王) but I consider it unlikely. If it were two words, they would be colored differently to avoid confusion. Searching 皇麻雀牌 after confining it to Japanese led me nowhere (my Japanese is horrendous).
    >I've also noticed some errors in the FAQ's which I will help you correct but that's for another day.
    >Best regards,
    >Ray L.

    Hi, Ray.
    Great information! Thanks. You're referring to this image:

    At the sites you cited, I see these images:

    Those sites do confirm that these are "red whites" (white dragons acting as score doublers). As for the 皇 emperor tile, I guess the mystery continues.
    I look forward to getting further info that I can use to improve the accuracy of my site. Thanks again, 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
    May 17, 2016


    Tile sorting

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Monday, May 16, 2016 3:21 PM
    >Subject: organizing your hand
    >Hi Tom,
    >Your columns have been very helpful to me so I'm hoping you can give me some advice. I looked in FAQ but did not find an answer--what is the best way to organize your dealt hand on your rack before the first Charleston begins? By suits, odds, or evens? Some possibilities are obvious, some not.
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda.
    You wouldn't find this in FAQ 19, because FAQ 19 is about rules, not strategy. You didn't look in FAQ 8, the Strategy FAQ!
    Anyway, I would think the answer to this question could be inferred by simply looking at the images in my columns. I always start every Charleston column by organizing my tiles the same way:

    I teach my beginning students to put flowers at the left, then organize numerically by suit, then dragons and winds and jokers. I teach my students not to put bams next to flowers because 1B is too easy to confuse for a flower. (I did put 1B next to flowers in the #7 example in the image above, but only because those are easily-distinguished colored graphics and not actual tiles.)
    I teach all my students (even in advanced/intermediate class) not to pre-assign jokers but put them as dividers between keepers and tossers, once keepers have been identified.
    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
    May 16, 2016


    Set valuation, part 5

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Monday, May 16, 2016 11:21 AM
    >Subject: Fwd: Esther's flowers
    >Hi Tom,
    >I looked in my copy of Eberhard too, and you are right, he uses 張國老 for Zhang Guolao. This seems to be a rather less commonly used way to write Zhang Guolao's name (and has a slightly different pronunciation, the central character, 國, is Guo with a rising tone, whereas the more common 果, also Guo, has a tone that falls and then rises).
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Interesting! I detect a chink in the armor of the Chinese tonality system. Not as though English armor, I mean armour(!), doesn't have chinks too (you say tomato, I say you're wrong).
    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
    May 16, 2016


    New column posted

    New column is up! Check it out, and let me know if I screwed something up! (^_^)


    Settle these arguments

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Saturday, May 14, 2016 6:25 PM
    >Subject: MY PREVIOUS EMAILS from 5/12 & 5/13
    >Hi Tom, Hope this question didn’t go into your spam like my last one. Noticed some questions dated 5/13 were answered today so I am just checking. It seems that when playing Mah Jongg there is always a question or two. Today our friendly game players decided that it would be OK to touch and even move the tile from the wall and put it back to take the discard instead as long as it wasn’t looked at. I agreed but ... I am a “play by the riles gal!” Enjoy your weekend. Lynn P.

    >From: Lynn Peters
    >Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2016 10:10 PM
    >To: webmaster@sloperama.com
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Playing American Mah Jongg today with 2 new subs (A & B) and 2 seasoned players (C & D), A called a discard and placed it on the sloping side of her rack with her other tiles. She didn’t expose the called discard nor other tiles that went with it. D said she must place the called discard on her top rack with the other tiles but C said she didn’t have to. B questioned why A couldn’t place the called discard on the sloping rack and then put up all the necessary tiles at once and both A & B said they had not learned that. I explained that was the “rule” while the C continued to argue with me. C said she has played a long time and never placed her called tile on the top rack and that she doesn’t play by some made-up rules because she plays friendly games. I finally told the 2 subs that it is not a made-up rule but is the rule of NMJL. C is also the one who refuses to put any of her tiles on the slanted rack if she is called dead. I know you have discussed both of these rules but I can’t seem to find the discussions so I can email them both to C who plays “friendly games”. She made the snide remark that I think I am a MJ expert because I quote Tom!! Again thanks for your help and answers that make me an “expert” in playing Mah Jongg!! Lynn P

    Hi, Lynn.
    Yep, I found both emails in my spam folder. I earmarked them as Not Spam, so I hope your future emails won't go there again.
    So, you have 2 questions:

    Where's the rule about not putting a called discard within the concealed tiles on the sloping front of the rack?
    See the 2013 newsletter from the League. It's permitted to put the taken discard into the hand just prior to exposing the hand for a win. (FAQ 19-K)

    But are you saying your seasoned player C calls a discard, then just puts it into the hand and discards without exposing? Seriously? Show her the rulebook, page 14. "The claimant must then expose on the rack the Pung, Kong or Quint which has been completed by the discarded tile." Mah-jongg isn't Rummy! A discarded mah-jongg tile may be claimed for two things only: for "exposure" (of a pung, kong, or quint) or for mah-jongg (which also has to be exposed immediately). The newsletters contain multitudinous mentions of claiming a discard "for exposure" and none whatsoever of claiming a discard to put it within the concealed hand.


    The official rulebook, and a newsletter/bulletin.
    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    Where's the rule about putting erroneous mahj tiles back on the sloping front of the rack?
    Again, it's in the rulebook.
    Page 16 of the rulebook says that a "hand that has been incorrectly exposed for a declaration of Mah Jongg must be returned to the rack". FAQ 19-P.
    And see the 2007 newsletter, too: "Once a hand is declared "dead," any Jokers that were exposed with that declaration cannot be redeemed." (This rule was stated not only in 2007 but also other newsletters.)

    I don't know why you want to refer your players to discussions on this board rather than the FAQs (which always come with citations as to the source), or better yet, the rulebook and the newsletters. But to find other places on this board where I've discussed the "return to the rack" rule on page 16 with readers, just search this page for "page 16". The rule has been discussed several times.

    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
    May 14, 2016


    She had a change of heart, part 2

    >From: "bcl...
    >Sent: Saturday, May 14, 2016 6:52 AM
    >Subject: Re: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I apologize for this automatic reply to your email.
    >To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.
    >If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience.
    >Click the link below to fill out the request:
    >https://webmail.pas.blah blah blah

    I was just trying to tell you that I'd answered your question and let you know how to return to the board and read your answer, Bonnie. I'm not clicking that link; too much bother. Hope you come back and get the answer to your 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
    May 14, 2016


    She had a change of heart

    >From: Bonnie C
    >Sent: Saturday, May 14, 2016 6:06 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A player pick up a tile from the currently presented wall. She is holding it face down therefore does not know what it is, nor has she racked it. Can she put it back into the exposed wall and instead claim the last discarded tile?
    >Thank you,
    >Bonnie C

    Hi, Bonnie.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    The "Change of Heart" Frequently Asked Question is FAQ 19-AM. 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 list of 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
    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
    May 14, 2016


    There's a 5th player who's not betting, and...

    >From: DONNA
    >Sent: Friday, May 13, 2016 5:49 PM
    >Subject: question
    >When playing with 5 players and 1 sits out and does not bet is there a rule regarding the 5th player sitting out giving one of the players advice on which hand to target? We had this happen and the player taking the advice MahJongged.

    Hi, DONNA.
    You're asking if there's a rule. So let's consult the official rulebook (which I did not write and I do not get any money from):


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

    The rulebook describes the 5-player game, starting on page 23. The rulebook assumes that the 5th player is acting as "bettor." But in your game, your 5th player does NOT act as bettor, you say. So, is that player no longer subject to what the rulebook says, since your group has agreed to deviate from the rulebook at this point? You described this 5th person as "the 5th player." If she is a "player," then she IS subject to what the rulebook says, even if she is not betting. In fact, the last paragraph (on page 24) states that she is subject to the rules. The rulebook itself does not go into enough detail. So now we need to consult my comprehensive collection of yearly newsletters, going back to 1997.


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    From the January, 2014 newsletter:

      Q: Is the bettor allowed to say anything during the game?
      A: No...if the bettor in any way interferes with the play of the game, their bet is cancelled.

    As I said above, the League assumes that the 5th player is betting. And the League says that if the 5th player is not betting, the rules still apply. So, although your non-bettor doesn't have a bet that can be cancelled, she did interfere with the play of the game, and that is definitely not allowed. The League has not stated what penalty should apply in a case such as you describe. I can suggest what I think the League would say the penalty should be, but that would be my guess.
    My guess is that your 5th player who interfered should compensate every player who paid the winner the exact amount that player paid the winner. (She should pay the winner for everyone.) But that's just my guess.
    To find out definitively what penalty the League would apply, you would need to write to the League and get the response in writing. Their current address is on the 2016 card (don't use the address on the 2015 card). Read FAQ 19-BN for more about why you should write and not call the League with questions, and read FAQ 19-W for the rules applying to bettors (thus, any 5th person involved in the game). You can link to FAQ 19 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. 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
    Friday the 13th, May, 2016


    Clockwise? Counterclockwise? It's so confusing!

    >From: Arleen
    >Sent: Friday, May 13, 2016 3:46 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:after first wall is used up does right or left go next?

    Hi, Arleen.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-Q. 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 list of 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!


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

    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
    Friday the 13th, May, 2016


    Mystery object, 2" x 1.5" x .5"

    >From: Morton
    >Sent: Friday, May 13, 2016 8:11 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I found this in a Hong Kong set. It measures 2 in. by 1½ in. It is about ½ in. thick. I believe it is not a Wind indicator since a Wind Indicator came with the set. What is it?
    >Morton W.

    Hi, Morton.
    Without more of an idea what it might look like, I can't tell you what it is. Have you looked at the images in the Bits & Pieces FAQ (Frequently Asked Question 7-D)? 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
    Friday the Thirteenth, May, 2016

    P.S. If it looks like this (below), then your mystery object's use is described in FAQ 7-D. - Tom


    Chengdu mah-jongg, part 2

    >From: Joseph S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2016 10:36 PM
    >Subject: Chengdu
    >I'm interested!
    >Forgot to add that chows cannot be melded, only made in hand.

    Joe,
    My correspondent is currently in the US, graduating from university. And after returning to Chengdu she will have a lot on her plate. But after she's played a few times she says she'll get back to me with scoring information. She confirms that this variant is called "blood battle" since after the first two players have won, it's a battle for survival between the last two players. She says this variant is the "most commonly played type in Western China."
    Let's give her time to start her life; she'll send information when she can catch her breath.
    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
    Friday the 13th, May, 2016


    Chengdu mah-jongg

    >From: Joseph S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2016 2:18 PM
    >Subject: Chengdu mahjong
    >Hi Mr. Sloper,
    >Some info on 'Chengdu Mahjong.'
    >I got an app that uses these rules. It's in broken English, so I still don't know what the scoring is. The rules are these
    >-108 tiles, no honors
    >-13 tiles in hand
    >-to win, you must be lacking at least one suit in your hand
    >-when someone wins, the other players continue until the wall runs out, or three people win.
    >-again, scoring is beyond me. I've been trying to figure it out for some years.
    >If one googles 'chengdu mahjong', there are some other websites with rules, which seem to be a little different with the scoring than this one from what I can tell, but the same gameplay. Numerous websites say that the game is nicknamed 'bloody battle' or 'blood game' or something like that due to everyone getting a chance to win.
    >If anyone else has info on this variant, please tell the bulletin board!
    >Joe

    That's interesting stuff, Joe! I might possibly have a new Chengdu connection, and I'll see if I can find out anything.
    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
    May 12, 2016


    Set valuation, part 4

    >From: Esther L
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 10:19 PM
    >Subject: Re: Set Valuation
    >Hi Tom,
    >Sorry for using the wrong word. I'd also like to thank Ray for clarifying the flower. But would these pictures depict Haversin system lines? I'm not familiar with the term so I think that's what I'm seeing.
    >Thank you so much for all your help!
    >Sincerely,
    >Esther Leung

    Hi, Esther.
    Yes, that does look like Haversian system, but oddly white and shiny. It looks as though the sticks are coated with shiny white paint or lacquer. It's unusual. Not being able to touch them or examine them in person, I can't be certain what's going on with these. They do appear to be bone, but they are definitely not typical of the 1920s, so I'm sticking with my assessment of 1930s or later.

    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
    May 12, 2016


    Set valuation, part 3

    >From: Ray H
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 1:03 PM
    >Subject: Esther's flowers
    >Hi Tom,
    >In your answer to Esther's question on her flower tiles, you referred her to FAQ 7-e, but there's at least one tile that I don't think is included in 7-e; the figure riding a donkey.
    >It's not too easy to see the images, but the figure looks to be riding the donkey while facing backwards - if so, the figure represents Zhang Guolao, 張果老, the oldest of the eight immortals (at three thousand years old). His emblem is a fish drum, a tube-shaped bamboo drum with two iron rods or mallets that he carries with him. He often, too, carries a phoenix feather or a peach, representing a desire for a long life. Zhang could shrink his donkey to a tiny size, keeping it under his cap between rides.
    >Best wishes,
    >Ray

    Hi, Ray.
    As always, your encyclopedic knowledge of Chinese personages is amazing. I should probably actually read my Eberhard book sometime! I looked under Z and there he is indeed. Eberhard shows a different middle character in the immortal's name. Maybe I need a better book (not that I use the one I have). Heck, I wouldn't have known to look under Z (it would have taken me a long time to get that far, and I would have long since given up).

    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
    May 11, 2016


    Set valuation, part 2

    >From: Esther L
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 11:37 AM
    >Subject: Re: Set Valuation
    >Hi tom,
    >Just to clarify, the sticks have obvious Bavarian markings and are not plastic, would that potentially place my set in the 1920s?

    Hi, Esther.
    I saw your email a couple of hours ago but haven't been able to respond until now, and I have to say, I was completely mystified by these 'Bavarian markings' you mentioned. But when I reopened your email just now, it occurred to me you might have been referring to Haversian system lines? I'm proceeding on that assumption. See this photo you sent me (I zoomed in on some of the sticks)...

    There is no Haversian system present on those sticks, and they are glossy like plastic. Bone doesn't gleam like that. Also, the sticks all have well-formed ends - very different from the way bone sticks look. It's possible that your sticks are bone but are simply made with better craftsmanship than what we usually see, but in my opinion these are made of plastic.

    would that [Haversian system markings on the sticks] potentially place my set in the 1920s?
    As I said before, this sort of slide-top box is more common to the thirties and later. If the sticks are indeed bone and not plastic, then that would only mean that plastic sticks were not added later or that the set was not made much later than the thirties.

    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
    May 11, 2016


    Who pays double? (Which domino rang the bell?)

    >From: Brenda H
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 9:12 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Firstly, I love your site and really find it a wonderful resource. Thank you. I play with a group of relatively new players and occasionally procedural questions come up and we often refer to your site as a way of resolving disagreements. We had an issue recently and I was hoping to get some clarification as I could not find anything specific about it on your site already.
    >My question relates to a particular scenario and whether it should be double pay for everyone…..…..?
    >Player A has one exposure.
    >Player B discards a tile which player A calls and player A uses the tile to make a correct second exposure (Player A now has 2 exposures and has not discarded a tile).
    >Then player A exchanges a tile for an exposed joker and declares Mah Jongg using the joker to complete her hand for Mah Jongg.
    >Is this considered a self pick for player A and payable as double for all other players or is just a double pay for player B as she discarded the tile player A needed before she exchanging the joker?
    >Also does it matter that the joker she exchanged was from her own rack (from the first exposure she had).
    >Thanking you in advance for your time.
    >Brenda

    Hi, Brenda. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Questions 19-AN & 19-BO. 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 list of 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
    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
    May 11, 2016


    Four jokers complicate the Goulash wall

    >From: Elaine K
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 7:13 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Q&A
    >Hi,
    >When inserting four blank tiles into the walls for Goulash, which walls will contain the extra blank tiles?
    >E & W will contain 38 tiles
    >or
    >N & S will contain 38 tiles
    >Thanks so much.

    Hi, Elaine.
    The use of four jokers in Western mah-jongg variants (other than American-style mah-jongg) is unofficial, so therefore how one builds walls of unequal length is also unofficial. It's likely that some tables do what you suggest (adding one stack each to two opposite walls) and some tables just add two stacks to the first or last wall. In American mah-jongg, some players who are bothered by the fact that the walls are one stack longer than the racks make a "tail" of four stacks, and where that's placed is a matter of agreement between the players.
    In terms of probabilities and statistics, it doesn't matter. If you want something that pleases your sense of symmetry, do it however you like.
    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
    May 11, 2016


    Set valuation

    >From: Esther L
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 2:59 AM
    >Subject: Set Valuation
    >Hi Tom,
    >I recently acquired a mah jong set that is very interesting and wanted to know if you might be able to provide me with a set valuation. I have a number of questions about this set. I purchased it after I saw an advertisement on kijiji from a lady that explained that she was helping to sell some of the belongings of her friend that just recently moved into a care home. Her friend had this set handed down to her from her mother who was married to a doctor and they did some travelling. They are unsure when this set was purchased or any other information about it. I purchased two sets from her, one which is newer and not shown in any of these pictures as I'm sure that one will not be worth as much though in what I would define as mint condition.
    >
    >The following is the information based on your set valuation checklist.
    >
    >Contents
    >Sticks: bone sticks in very good condition except for minor bleeding of some paint on 2 sticks. One of the color 3 stick has some of the ink smudged and one of the color 4 stick has some bleeding of the green ink. Otherwise there has been no yellowing at all, all sticks are of consistent coloring except for some very minor fading of ink on some sticks.
    >Color 1 (12 dots) = 6
    >Color 2 (2 dots) = 32
    >Color 3 (8 dots) = 41
    >Color 4 (4 dots) = 46
    >Dice: tiny bone dice “1” has no paint with indentation only and “4” is with red paint in very good condition, one of the dice has some discoloring more yellowish than others.
    >Racks: 4 burgandy colored wooden racks. Two of the racks are perfectly intact and two racks have identically cracked off corners as shown in the photo.
    >
    >Mahjong Tiles: I believe the tiles are bone and they are dovetailed into bamboo. They are carved along with arabic numerals and alphabets. The tiles include the older-style “crak”character. Only a few tiles show some signs of separation between the bone and the bamboo noticeable only on inspection and only in the areas of where the dovetailing occurs. There is noticeable smudging of the ink or fading on some of the tiles. There are a number of tiles that are also discolored turning more yellowish-brown. The bamboo side of the tiles are in fine or excellent condition, no noticeable wear or tear at all.
    >Dimensions: 2.5cm height, 1.7cm width, 1.2cm depth, 0.4cm thickness of bone. It's a bit difficult as the bamboo is thicker in the middle as it is rounded slightly but at most a .1cm difference in the depth depending if you are measuring from the middle or from the side.
    >Suites: The 152-tile set is complete and includes dots, bams, craks (old-style), winds, dragons, flowers, joker and blanks. It is noted that the white dragon is identical to the 4 blanks and there are 4 jokers with the image of a rabbit.
    >
    >Container: the tiles came in a wooden flat box with a sliding lid and there is a chinese verse from the moon goddess carved onto the lid. There is a piece of wood missing from the middle of the lid which causes the middle part of the lid to sink into the box making it difficult to open at times and requires some maneuvering to make sure it does not catch. The box is painted a dark brown and the paint is noticeably smudged on the inside of the box as well. The container side of the box is in good condition with very minor scratches on the edge where you can see a little bit of the original color wood but barely.
    >
    >Paper Material: Because I bought two sets of mah jong, The paperwork for the two sets are all together and I am unsure which material came with this particular set. I’ve included all the material in this description and have found them particularly interesting.
    >
    >Count Table and Counting the Points. (n.d.). Is a leaflet with title page, two tables on the inside pages indicating count tables and the back outlining counting the points. There is no information on publication or author.
    >Directions of Playing Mah-Jong “Chinese Game of Four Winds”. (n.d.). Is a 22 paged booklet. Noticed that there are chinese typed words in this booklet and illustrations show the “chak” with the newer-style.
    >Standard Rules for the Chinese Domino Game of Mah Jong. (n.d.). Is a 25 paged booklet. No printed chinese words, but drawn illustrations of counting sticks and noted newer-style “chak” are seen in the illustrations.
    >Leekun, Y. G. (n.d.). How to Play Mah Jong Standard Rules (1st ed.). Victoria, B.C.: Diggon’s Printing. This booklet is in mint condition, it indicate son its cover that it is the first edition “All Rights Reserved” and “Prince One Dollar”. On further research I discovered that Y.G. Leekun also known as Y. George Leekun was party of the Hobbyist club and was also found to have been involved involved in smuggling arms to China after being offered money by the Gongzhou government for this purpose (found in the book Arming the Chinese: The Western Armaments Trade in Warlord China, 1920-1928 Second Ed. by Anthony B. Chan) From what I can gather this book is circa 192-.
    >3 obviously computer printed pages with “Seating Arrangement”, “Bones”, “Scoring Table”, “Limit Hands”, “Payment”, and “Lucky Tiles” information
    >6 typed pages with title Mah Jong in black ink, with red ink for numbered section titles. There are a number of mis-typed letters and on the last page at the very end it states:
    > “The Game of Mah Jong”, by Max Robertson.
    > Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd., LONDON.
    >I’m unsure if someone just typed out Max Robertson’s book, unsure which edition this is, or whether this is a manuscript, galley, or proof of one of the editions or even the first edition of his book. My research indicates that Max Robertson’s first book “The Game of Mah Jong” was published in 1938 and I wonder if this was typed prior to this publishing but I was unable to find any information about one that was published in London as his books are all published in Auckland or Christchurch, NewZealand. Attached to the 6 typewritten pages are two photocopies of the same 6 pages on obviously different, thicker quality paper and they are all stapled together. On the last page of there is an obvious rusted on imprint of a paperclip. There is no writing on any of the pages.
    >
    >Questions:
    >1. Am I correct in that my set is bone and bamboo? (I wasn't sure if it was bakelite or bone)
    >2. What year is my set from?
    >3. What value do you think my set is worth?
    >4. Where do you think my set originated from?
    >5. Is this a common set or is it a rare set?
    >6. Do you know the authors and years for the documents?
    >7. Is there any way to find out if the typewritten document in #6 is a manuscript, galley or proof? Who should I ask, how do I find out? I have not been able to find the first edition of Max Robertson's first book in 1938 to compare.
    >8. What is the value for these documents?
    >9. Why are some of the tiles more yellow/brown than others?
    >10. Why are the bones in the sticks not yellow/brown and in fact are much whiter than the bone in the tiles.
    >11. What do the flowers mean or represent?
    >
    >Any information or comments would be greatly appreciated. I can be contacted at this email or if you need you can also call me at ##########. Thank you so much for your time and expertise.
    >Sincerely,
    >Esther L

    Hi, Esther. Your questions:

    Am I correct in that my set is bone and bamboo?
    Of course.

    (I wasn't sure if it was bakelite or bone)
    Bakelite is never that white, and I've never seen Bakelite backed with bamboo.

    What year is my set from?
    This type of sliding-top boxed set with small tiles (and rabbit jokers) is probably from the 1930s, or possibly the 40s or 50s.

    What value do you think my set is worth?
    If it was in better condition, it could be worth $60-80. In its present condition, I'm guessing $40. The flowers in particular are badly smudged. The racks were sold separately, and are worth maybe $10.

    Where do you think my set originated from?
    China.

    Is this a common set or is it a rare set?
    It's not rare.

    Do you know the authors and years for the documents?
    The authors are unknown. "Directions of Playing Mah-Jongg" is of recent origin. I'm not sure but "Standard Rules" might also be of recent origin (see comment below). You told me more about the Y. G. Leekun Blue Book than I ever knew!

    Is there any way to find out if the typewritten document in #6 is a manuscript, galley or proof?
    Perhaps.

    Who should I ask, how do I find out?
    I doubt that the trouble you would go through to definitively determine this would be worth it in the end. I think it's likely that someone typed the document so that the rules could be shared with other players, or with students. The fact that you have photocopies bears this out. I compared the Ordinary Suit Hands section with Robertson's description (I don't have his First Edition, but I doubt the wording is any different), and your typist used different words, fewer words, substituting "one" for "1," etc. Conclusion: teaching aid or playing aid, not manuscript.

    What is the value for these documents?
    Your booklet "Directions of Playing Mah-Jong" is worthless. Your booklet "Standard Rules" might or might not have value; I would need to see it with the cover opened to the first page. I believe I have one of those in my collection, but it's a lot of work to go looking for it. Your Y. G. Leekun Blue Book has value, maybe around $15. Your "Count Table" might have value, but not a lot.

    Why are some of the tiles more yellow/brown than others?
    Because they are not new.

    Why are the bones in the sticks not yellow/brown and in fact are much whiter than the bone in the tiles.
    Those are plastic, which suggests that the set is probably newer than the 1930s, or that the sticks have been added to the set.

    What do the flowers mean or represent?
    Read Frequently Asked Question 7-E. 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
    May 11, 2016


    Player C made the first discard, part 6

    >From: "judi@mahjonggfunla dot com
    >Sent: Monday, May 9, 2016 10:41 PM
    >Subject: mah jongg question
    >Hi Tom,
    >I got an answer from the National Mah Jongg League in writing regarding my question.
    >Q. Player A was East, but player C made the first discard. Was player C dead?
    >A. If a player, other than East, makes the first discard of the game, she is "dead". Technically, this player has too few tiles in her hand and, thus she discontinues play for that hand.
    >Bill and I had always thought that this was correct, but when Gladys starting saying that the game does not begin until East makes the first discard, we changed our ruling to follow Gladys's rule. We are now going back to our original ruling.
    >Thanks again for your help. Hope to see you soon.
    >Bill & Judi Nachenberg
    >Mah Jongg Fun L.A.

    I love getting things confirmed in writing, Judi! Way to go!
    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
    May 10, 2016


    How does doubling work?

    >From: "Joank...
    >Sent: Monday, May 9, 2016 3:57 PM
    >Subject: Maj Question
    >If a person makes Maj Jongg on her own and it's a jokerless hand, is she paid double?
    >That is, if it's a $.25 game is she paid $1.00? Thanks in advance for your help. Joan K

    Hi, Joan. You wrote:

    If a person makes Maj Jongg on her own and it's a jokerless hand, is she paid double?
    No...* Let's break down your question into two parts:

    If a person makes Maj Jongg on her own
    Read the back of the card, 2nd line from the top. "When a player picks OWN Mah Jongg tile, all players pay double value." Got it? It's double for self-pick. No exceptions - self-pick doubles the amount others must pay. It says so on the card.

    and it's a jokerless hand, is she paid double?
    Read the back of the card, the next sentence in red: "WHEN ... NO JOKERS ARE PART OF THE HAND... DOUBLE VALUE." So, it's double for jokerless, too. Your answer is right there on the card!

    If the hand has no jokers (and isn't a Singles & Pairs hand), the amount others must pay is doubled, regardless of any other scoring circumstances. No score doubler is ever invalidated or trumped by another score doubler. It's not double for jokerless OR double for self-pick... It's double for jokerless, AND it's double for self-pick!

    if it's a $.25 game is she paid $1.00?
    Hard to believe, isn't it? Read Frequently Asked Question 19-W. 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
    May 9, 2016

    * No. Self-pick and jokerless is not just double. It's double double!


    Etiquette with a slow player (how do we handle a slow player, part 4)

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Sunday, May 8, 2016 9:25 PM
    >Subject: Fw: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2016 2:48 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: When playing American Mah Jongg with 4 players, when player A, whose turn it is, takes several minutes to make up her mind as to which tile to discard or in the Charleston which 3 tiles to pass, sometimes the other players forget whose turn it is. Is it rude for another player to ask whose turn it is or is it my turn? Sometimes this happens and one player said the player who asked is rude and is calling attention to the fact that the slow person is taking too much time. Can a player ask these questions of the group or is not correct Mah Jongg etiquette? We are all over age 65, some over 70, so sometimes our minds wander while we are waiting. I know it would not be polite to talk while a player is thinking or rearranging her tiles different ways. So far we are enjoying playing with the 2016 card but we miss some of the old hands. Thanks again for all your answers to my questions. Haven’t had time to check out your Sunday strategies but plan to do so in the next few weeks when I will have more time. Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn,
    Etiquette can be so tricky sometimes, can't it? Let's see your questions:

    Is it rude for another player to ask "whose turn it is or is it my turn?"
    No. It isn't. She is expressing an honest question.

    one player said the player who asked is rude and is calling attention to the fact that the slow person is taking too much time.
    That assumes that the person who asks "whose turn is it" is aware that it isn't her turn, and is intentionally rubbing the slow player's nose in it. Where does she get that assumption from? In my opinion, it's normal and expected that one or more players will forget whose turn it is when a slow player is being slow. Oops, is it rude of me to categorize the slow person as "slow"? Oh, no! What euphemism can I use instead? She's not a "slow player" - she's a "player who's necessarily taking lengthy temporal interludes." Sorry about being politically incorrect before! </sarcasm>

    I know it would not be polite to talk while a player is thinking or rearranging her tiles different ways.
    Really? That differs from what Linda Z said on April 26, below ("How do we handle a slow player, part 3").

    Here's what I think. I think the slow player is being rude and inconsiderate of everyone else by selfishly taking so much time at making a decision, rather than letting go in favor of a smooth flowing harmonious game. BUT is it impolite to tell a slow player she's selfish, rude, and inconsiderate? Unfortunately, yes. It's much less impolite to point out to her that she's taking an inordinately long time, and that by so doing, she's making the game unenjoyable for everyone else.

    If you haven't read columns 375 and 621, and FAQ 19-BA yet, I recommend you do.

    Haven’t had time to check out your Sunday strategies but plan to do so in the next few weeks when I will have more time.
    I've been rather tight on time myself, but the semester is ending this week, so I expect I'll be able to catch up and write some columns.

    P.S. I was wondering why your email was a forward of an earlier email that I never saw, so I decided I should have a look in my spam folder, and there it was! Don't know why. Sorry about 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
    Mother's Day, 2016


    Donation, part 2

    >From: Beth B
    >Sent: Sunday, May 8, 2016 9:51 AM
    >Subject: Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Equipro (bethb
    >Thank you Tom...I live for your columns! I'm visiting PA the month of May and will be attending a tournament in Long Branch NJ on the 13th. I'm cutting myself a lot of slack for this first year...don't get me wrong I'm trying my best but not being hard on myself.
    >To be honest...I wish there were more men playing...(not that I'm looking for a man but I do appreciate a more yin yang environment) I figure after a year I may go back to scrabble and then when I'm in my seventies (## this month) I'll come back to Mahjong....we'll see.
    >In the meantime...get to work on those papers!
    >Happy Mother's Day
    >Beth

    Funny you should mention Scrabble, Beth. When I talked to my mom, she told me there was supposed to be a Scrabble game event in her rec room but when she got there, there were just two ladies playing Rummikub. So she played that with them instead of Scrabble.
    P.S. I wasn't confident that you wanted your age to be public, so I edited 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
    Mother's Day, 2016


    Who gets a discard if two want it for the same thing? (FAQ 19-H)

    >From: Sandra H
    >Sent: Saturday, May 7, 2016 7:49 PM
    >Subject: Question from your former classmates
    >Hello Mr. Sloper:
    >Hope you are well. You will smile if you knew how much we "quote" you from our mah jong dates...after a year and a half, we have become lovely friends and enjoy the game tremendously!!
    >So, we came across a situation and here is what happened: (please excuse if I don't use the right lingo or words)
    >When Lisa discarded the 5 dot, Susan was behind her and announced "Mah Jong".....I was the next player and, after she said it quickly, I said Mah Jong as well...turns out we both had mah jong with the 5 dot...
    >We just assumed that Susan said it first and she won the game. However, we were speaking to a friend of mine who plays "by the book" and she said that I should have been the winner because I was the next one to pick a tile....
    >I hope I explained it correctly...can you clarify this situation? We are all interested in knowing the correct rules...
    >Either way, we love the game and give you lots of credit for it!!
    >Best regards,
    >Sandra H

    Hi, Sandra! Always good to hear from a former student.
    Since you were a student, you ought to have my book, and you can find the answer to this question in rule 63 (page 53), and also on the bottom of page 96. And anytime you don't have my book handy, you can read the answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg in FAQ 19. You can link to the FAQs above left; you've asked FAQ 19-H. By the way, I started a new session of classes just 2 days ago, and I started off the Intermediate class with a quiz, and FAQ 19-H generated some classroom discussion.
    Anyway, 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. Once you're in the FAQ, you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer.
    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
    Mother's Day, 2016


    Donation

    >From: Equipro via PayPal
    >Sent: Saturday, May 7, 2016 3:22 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Equipro (bethb
    >PayPal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Equipro (bethb. You can view the transaction details online.
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Equipro
    >Message: Tom, Thank you so much for your awesome website! Because of you I have become a tournament player in less than two months from learning to play....still have a long, long way to go. I live in Long Beach CA and I am looking forward to playing Asian mahjong.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Beth! I'm so glad my website has been helpful. I was thinking I might write a column this weekend, but it's taking longer than expected to grade final exams.
    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
    Mother's Day, 2016


    After breaking the wall, where do the leftover tiles go?

    >From: Dorothy H
    >Sent: Friday, May 6, 2016 6:56 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >After East shakes and puts the remaining tiles in the center of the table, what does she do with the tiles she counted? Does she leave it on the right or shove it to the left?
    >Rezzie

    Hi, Rezzie.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-CH. 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 list of 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
    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
    May 6, 2016


    When did breaking the wall appear, part 4

    >From: Anne P
    >Sent: Thursday, May 5, 2016 5:43 AM
    >Subject: Answer
    >Thank you for your patience and comprehensive answer. Anne P

    You're welcome, Anne, I'm glad the information I gave you satisfied your question. But I still wish I knew what this was all about! /^ ^\!
    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
    Cinco de Mayo, 2016


    When did breaking the wall appear, part 3

    >From: Anne P
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 1:07 PM
    >Subject: Breaking the wall
    >What year did breaking the wall appear on the back of the mah Jong card? Our group does break the wall. The oldest card that a friend had was 1976 and the rule did appear on the card. Many of the groups in the Maryland area do not break the wall, as well as my sister's group in the big apple. Thank you for your assistance. Anne P

    Anne, I still don't understand the point. Breaking the wall by rolling dice was always a rule, whether or not it was on the card. So I really don't know what difference it makes when it appeared on the card. You want me to do some work for you, but you won't tell me why you want me to do it!

    The first NMJL rulebook was Viola Cecil's 1938 book. She was the president of the League then. "BREAKING THE WALL" is described in detail on page 9. The League didn't have a card at that time (the book itself was the card).
    The rule to roll dice and break the wall was never dropped -- it wasn't on cards in the 1950s, but it was on cards in the 1960s -- but regardless whether it was on a card or not, it was always the rule. There isn't enough room on the card to print every rule. There have always been rules that are not on the card, for lack of space. I really wish you would tell me what this is all about. If you're having an argument with somebody, a rule's date of first appearance on the card is not the way to resolve it. I don't have a 1959, 1960, or 1961 card in my collection, so I can't give you an exact date.
    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
    May 4, 2016


    When did breaking the wall appear, part 2

    >From: Anne P
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 5:19 AM
    >Subject: Breaking the wall
    >What year did breaking the wall appear? Your assistance is greatly appreciated....Anne P

    Anne, please see the answer I posted yesterday (below). If your question is, "when did the rule begin," the answer is "when mah-jongg was created, in China, in the late 1800s." If your question really is, "when was the rule first shown on the card," then I really wonder why you're asking. If you're really asking "why roll dice," then ask that - I have written an FAQ about that. If you're looking for me to settle an argument, then tell me about the argument. I love settling arguments!
    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
    May 4, 2016


    When did breaking the wall appear on the NMJL card?

    >From: Anne P
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 3, 2016 7:43 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >When did breaking the wall appear on the mahjong card?

    Hi, Anne.
    Breaking the wall was part of mah-jongg long before the National Mah Jongg League was formed, and long before the League printed a card. It's the way the deal works in China, and Japan, and the Philippines, and India, and Australia...
    But is it that your real question is "what year did the card first mention breaking the wall"? If so, why do you ask -- do you have an old card that doesn't mention it? If so, which card is 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
    May 3, 2016


    Player C made the first discard, part 5

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 3, 2016 12:25 PM
    >Subject: playing out of turn
    >If a player, who is not East, discards first in a game, what is the penalty?
    >Thanks for your help.

    Hi, Jeanne.
    As I wrote in response to Judi Nachenberg last week (below), that player should be called dead. But if you play at a tournament organized by Gladys Grad, that player may put the tile back without penalty (scroll down to see the April 29 post).
    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
    May 3, 2016


    If I accidentally put up two exposures in one turn, can I put it back?

    >From: Barbara D
    >Sent: Sunday, May 1, 2016 6:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg question
    >After calling a tile, I put it in my rack and completed the exposure. I went on nd put up another exposure which I wanted to take back BEFORE discarding. I did not call Mah Jongg. Can I put the second exposure back in my rack before discarding or am I dead? I look forward to your reply. Thank you. Barbara D

    Hi, Barbara.
    This is the first time in the 15+ years I've had this bulletin board that I've been asked this question! And I've never seen this question asked and answered in a yearly NMJL bulletin, either. I can only guess, then, at what the League would say, based on their other rulings.
    The way I read the League's other exposure rules: Actions in mah-jongg are a commitment. Once you've put up a second exposure in one turn, you are expected to expose all the rest of your hand. If you can't, you're dead.
    It's possible I'm wrong. To confirm with the League officially, you would need to send a letter to the League (don't telephone them). Read FAQ 19 -BN. 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
    May Day, 2016


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

    >From: Greetings <tashara
    >Sent: Sunday, May 1, 2016 4:34 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can jokers be redeemed from a Mahj in error that was totally exposed as play continues? Thanks!

    Greetings, Greetings! (^_^)
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-P. 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 list of 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
    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
    May Day, 2016


    Am I dead if I put the discard in my hand, part 2

    >From: Stacey
    >Sent: Friday, April 29, 2016 5:51 PM
    >Subject: Re: Something New for Teachers of Mah Jongg
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for addressing my question in the 19 K Section of FAQ on your website. However, forgive me if I am being dense -- but, the way I read it, the question in 19K is not exactly the same as my question. I am asking about putting a discard in the hand (on the rack) when NOT declaring a WIN. And I know that many tournaments do not allow it. I am asking if, during regular, non-tournament play, a player is automatically DEAD if she places a discard in her rack momentarily before exposing it on top -- when it's NOT for Mah Jongg. Is there an official rule that says a player is dead if she does this?
    >You state that the NMJL issued a ruling in their Jan. 2013 bulletin that pertains to this situation but it says "JUST PRIOR to a win." In other words what if the last three words in the sentence were omitted?
    >" ... it is permitted to put the taken discard into the hand just prior to exposing the hand for a win.
    >Would the ruling be the same without "for a win"? Of course, some might think this answer goes without saying -- but it doesn't for me. Can I get a specific ruling on this situation, if you know the answer?
    >Thanks,
    >Stacey

    Hi, Stacey.
    No, the League has not put such a rule in writing. But the wording of the rule you cited implies that it's okay when declaring mah-jongg but not okay for simple exposure, in the League's eyes. I hope it's obvious to one and all that it's a bad practice, and a player should not do it. Picking up a tile from the table (not from the wall) and placing it among one's concealed tiles could be a way to cheat - and it could be misconstrued by another player as a possible cheating move. So it should not be done.
    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
    April 29, 2016


    Player C made the first discard, part 4

    >From: Gladys at Mah Jongg
    >Sent: Friday, April 29, 2016 5:18 PM
    >Subject: RE: mah jongg question
    >Hi again Tom….
    > Yes, we would have the player just return the too-early discard to her hand; and East would then discard to begin the game.
    >XOXOXO
    >Gladys Grad
    >Mah Jongg Tournaments And Cruises
    >5750 Carriage Drive
    >Sarasota, FL 34243
    >941-351-9420
    >http://www.mahjonggmadness.com
    >Visit our website for information on Tournament Rules, Tournaments and Cruises


    Player C made the first discard, part 3

    From: Gladys at Mah Jongg
    Sent: Friday, April 29, 2016 2:40 PM
    Subject: RE: mah jongg question
    Thanks Tom and Judi,
    I rarely disagree with the League’s rulings; and I try not to put myself in a position to discuss their rules for social games.
    Our focus is Tournament Games. Our tournament rules (which were initially based on 24 years of conducting the National Mah Jongg League’s Tournaments at Sea) call for the game to “begin when East throws the first tile.” Therefore, we don’t declare another player’s hand “dead,” if the game hasn’t legitimately started yet.
    With the greatest of respect to Ruth Unger and Marilyn Starr, there is no one else at the League office answering questions - who attended those precedent setting NMJL tournaments. When it comes to tournaments, I would venture to say that I am literally the last person who discussed the fairness and equity of Tournament Rules with them one-on-one.
    Hugs to you both……
    Gladys Grad
    Mah Jongg Tournaments And Cruises
    5750 Carriage Drive
    Sarasota, FL 34243
    941-351-9420
    http://www.mahjonggmadness.com
    Visit our website for information on Tournament Rules, Tournaments and Cruises

    Hi, Gladys.
    It's great to hear from you. And I appreciate hearing about this tournament rule. So in the case aforementioned, I wonder how you proceed. Player C isn't dead. Does she take the tile back into her hand?
    May the tiles be with you. And hugs back atcha!
    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
    April 29, 2016


    Am I dead if I put the discard in my hand?

    >From: Stacey
    >Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2016 2:04 PM
    >Subject: Re: Something New for Teachers of Mah Jongg
    >Hi Tom,
    >During our Mah Jongg game yesterday something occurred in which I am unable to find an official RULE about. On your website you address it but not the specific situation that I'm referring to. Here's what happened: Player A called a tile (not for MJ) and she placed it in her rack for a moment before she put it up with the rest of the tiles for her exposure. Player B said it was against the rules to do that. She must place the called tile on top of her rack immediately and if she doesn't she's dead.
    >
    >Now, I understand that this is true for many tournaments and I see that Elaine Sandberg has written in her beginners guide on page 92 that players should place claimed tiles on top of their racks. And I agree with everybody. I just want to know if it is an OFFICIAL RULE or not. I couldn't locate that specific info in your book. But, on your website I found this: BL Must I place a picked tile in the rack? But your answer seems to address picked from the wall tiles and not called or claimed discards for an exposure. If you have the answer posted, I could not find it. I would appreciate your knowledge on this.
    >Thanks in advance,
    >Stacey

    Hi, Stacey.
    You are correct that FAQ 19-BL is about a picked tile, not a claimed discard. The FAQ you want is FAQ 19-K. The League ruled on this after my book was published.
    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
    April 28, 2016


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

    >From: Louise D
    >Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2016 2:40 PM
    >Subject: MJ Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >A player had two exposures. When she made her third exposure, we knew her hand was dead. She was playing a closed hand. Her third exposure had a joker in it. Could that joker be called by another player or is it considering dead along with her hand?

    Hi, Louise.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-P. 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 list of 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
    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
    April 28, 2016


    Player C made the first discard, part 2

    >From: "judi@mahjonggfunla.
    >Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2016 11:34 AM
    >Subject: RE: mah jongg question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for your answer. I have put the question in writing to the League. Waiting for a written answer. I have always felt that player C would be dead, but since Gladys said the game hasn't started until East made the first discard, we have changed our ruling to go along with Gladys. Now I am not so sure if that is correct. My feelings are if C discarded, then D picked and discarded, then A picked and discarded and then someone noticed it both C and A would be dead because they would not have the right amount of tiles. So why shouldn't C be dead as soon as she made the first discard? Thanks again for your opinion.
    >Judi Nachenberg
    >Mah Jongg Fun L.A.

    Hi, Judi.

    if C discarded, then D picked and discarded, then A picked and discarded and then someone noticed it both C and A would be dead because they would not have the right amount of tiles. So why shouldn't C be dead as soon as she made the first discard?
    Precisely. Either C is dead (as the League has said twice) or the tiles should be thrown in. I suppose the most lenient ruling is to permit C to take the discard back, with a warning not to jump the gun again. But in a tournament setting, death is the way to go.

    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
    April 2, 2016


    Player C made the first discard

    >From: "judi@mahjonggfunla
    >To: Gladys Grad
    >Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:38 AM
    >Subject: mah jongg question
    >A lady called me the other day and asked this question. Player A was East, but player C made the first discard. Was player C dead? Someone in the game, at the time it happened, called the League and the League said she was dead. The lady did not agree because according to Gladys, she is not dead because the game has not officially started until East makes the first discard. This lady also plays in our tournaments and we have been using this rule at our tournaments also. I posted this question on Mah Jongg That's It site and everyone agreed with Gladys that she is not dead. I just called the League and they said she is dead. Any opinions?
    >Judi Nachenberg
    >Mah Jongg Fun L.A.

    Good morning, Judi.
    I wish people would not telephone the League but rather get rulings in writing (and then share a photo of the ruling). Player C played out of turn; she's dead. Player C has too few tiles in her hand; she's dead. The League said verbally to two callers that Player C is dead; she's dead.
    As for the question of whether a player can go dead before the dealer's first discard: There is nothing in the rulebook that says this. There is a rule that says if a player has too few tiles before the dealer's first discard, she can pick from the wall, but that assumes there was an error in the deal (that a player forgot to pick up her 13th tile from the wall); the only reason Player C has too few tiles is because she threw one away, out of turn. Player C is not permitted to take back the discard (down is dead), so the action is not rescindable. If she's not dead, then the only recourse is to throw everything in and redeal. But the League said, verbally, that she's dead. So she's dead. The League is the ultimate arbiter of the 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
    April 28, 2016


    How do we handle a slow player, part 3

    >From: "lindaz...
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 5:22 AM
    >Subject: How we handle a slow player
    >Hi Tom,
    >I discovered this method quite by accident when I was taking too long during my turn. Instead of waiting quietly, the other players will start a conversation among themselves which proves distracting to the slow player. She is then aware of taking too much time and usually makes her decision promptly. No hurt feelings!
    >Linda

    Nice, Linda!
    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
    April 26, 2016


    What's the significance of this parenthetical, part 2

    >From: Karyl T
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 4:48 AM
    >Subject: RE: Consecutive Run #4
    >Actually, your heading, What if the parenthetical doesn't say I can't do a thing, then can I do it? isn't a true representation of what I was asking.
    >I agree with the logic you presented in your answer, which is why I was wondering why they bothered to include the parenthetical comment in CR#4 that Kongs & Dragons match. No where else do they include such a comment so what is it's significance here? Was it to give some flexibility here, or was it superfluous?

    Hi, Karyl.

    Actually, your heading, What if the parenthetical doesn't say I can't do a thing, then can I do it? isn't a true representation of what I was asking.
    Sorry about that. I'm changing it.

    I was wondering why they bothered to include the parenthetical comment in CR#4 that Kongs & Dragons match. No where else do they include such a comment so what is it's significance here?
    Now I see that this is the question you were really asking.

    Was it to give some flexibility here, or was it superfluous?
    There is a third possibility. Parentheticals can also be clarifying. I think the reason (why the League thought having this clarification here is necessary) is because there is an intervening color (the higher number pung) between the number kong and the dragon kong. But I wasn't present at any discussions about the creation of the card, so I can only make guesses. Note also that this hand is a rework of the similar hand on the 2015 card and the 2010 card (in those, the middle number was a pung and it matched the dragon pung), and the same parenthetical existed on that hand in those cards. I was never asked about the reason for the parenthetical on those cards, so I was unprepared for your 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
    April 26, 2016


    What if the parenthetical doesn't say I can't do a thing, then can I do it? What's the significance of this parenthetical?

    >From: Karyl T
    >Sent: Monday, April 25, 2016 5:33 PM
    >Subject: Consecutive Run #4
    >Does the Kong have to be the middle number in the run? For example, could you have 333 444 5555 DDDD with 5's and D matching? (I was wondering if this was similar to Quints #1 where the pair is any number in the run.)

    Hi, Karyl.
    I get what you're suggesting. Let's try it with one of the other hands too, shall we? How about Consec. #1? There's no parenthetical that says the ones and twos, or the fives and sixes, have to be the pairs. How about we do 1111 222 333 44 55 and 555 66 7777 88 999? Do you think those would be permissible? That's the same thing as what you're suggesting, isn't it? Just moving group sizes around, distributing them differently?
    But take a look at Quints #1. The parenthetical clearly says that there is flexibility as to how the hand can be made (as compared to the way it's displayed on the card). There is no such wording in the parenthetical for Consec. #4 - and there is no parenthetical at all for Consec. #1.
    So: the answer to your question is no. In the absence of a parenthetical that says you can do something different from what the card shows, you have to do what the card shows. Read FAQs 19-AJ and 19-AK. 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
    April 25, 2016

    Note: I misinterpreted the gist of the question in this case, and it was clarified in a subsequent post, above. (These Q&As are presented here in reverse chronological order -- more recent posts are above earlier posts). - Tom


    How do we handle a slow player, part 2

    Follow-up to the response to Claire H on Saturday. I neglected to mention that I also wrote a column on the psychology of slow players. It's column 621 (October 19, 2014). I'm no psychologist, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt (or monosodium glutamate). I think if we try to understand what causes a player to take a long time deciding every play, we may be able to find an equitable solution.
    Tom
    April 25, 2016


    A shop where I can buy a Singapore-style set in Osaka or Kyoto

    >From: Muffin E
    >Sent: Sunday, April 24, 2016 2:36 PM
    >Subject: Osaka or Kyoto - stores to purchase a Mah Jongg set come June
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >With your vast knowledge, could you direct me to some possible places in Osaka and Kyoto to find a mah jongg set? We play with the winds and plants tiles besides the animals tiles.
    >From perusing your website you widened my knowledge of the background for this game. Never knew there was so much to learn though I have been playing for at least 20 years. Here in Hawaii, depending on the group you play with, we must be doing some sort of variation using Singaore rules as there seems to be very little use of the cat and rat in games that people mention playing via email to you. We do not play with the rooster and centipede but I would love to find a set using those. Our cat and rat are just stickers pasted on and those small stickers are now impossible to find here as they were taken from a set of child's stickers eons ago. Since we learned the game at the YMCA from a Chinese instructor we have continued to use what he has taught us.
    >Our trip to Japan begins this June for 10 days so if you have any information as to stores there I would appreciate it much!
    >Aloha,
    >Audrey E

    Konnichi wa, Audrey.
    Although I have been to those cities, it was a long time ago, and I wasn't shopping for mah-jongg sets at the time (and hadn't yet created this website).
    I do not believe you will find Singapore-style sets for sale anywhere in Japan. If I found myself staying at a hotel in Kyoto or Osaka and wanted to do some mah-jongg shopping, I would ask the concierge to help me find a game store. If I was staying with friends there, I'd ask them to help me find a game store. But I'm pretty sure such stores will carry only Japanese-style sets.
    You could also try contacting the Hong Kong shops I visited last time I was there - a carver might make the tiles you want, or you might even find a readymade Singapore-style set for sale there. Click "A Hong Kong MJ Adventure" above left. 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
    April 24, 2016


    American-style mistakes in a Hong Kong MJ game

    >From: Veronica H
    >Sent: Sunday, April 24, 2016 12:08 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I have taken over chairing a Chinese MJ club. I have played American for years and the rules are very clear. But I have a few questions regarding the Chinese game.
    >
    >I was told that this group plays the Hong Kong version of the game but in my mind , if they do,the scoring was changed for ease of play. It's a $5 purse and every point is worth a dime. For example a semi pure hand is worth three points. Pungs of dragons are worth one point, etc. Allso, they do not call chow, they use the term chi (for a run of three). Do you know of any version of the game that uses chi in reference to a run of three?
    >
    >Now for clarification of rules I need your help. In American if you have too few or too many tiles you have a dead hand and do not continue to play. In reading your book, you state that in Chinese a player in that situation cannot declare MJ. I didn't see anything about continuation of play. Some of our members feel that they should continue to pick and discard as that person may have a tile they need. Also, the way we play if you give a person a MJ, you are the only one who pays. If it is a self draw, everyone pays.
    >
    >Two incidents occurred this past week on which I would like your opinion or ruling. In American MJ according to your book if a player discards and mis-calls the tile and someone declares MJ, that person pays four times the value of the hand (I am assuming the logic in that is you would pay double anyway for giving someone the MJ and you are paying for the other two also.
    >
    >What happens in Chinese when a tile is mis-called and someone declares MJ?
    >
    >The other incident occurred when a new wall was brought to the center of the table and the next person to play, in error, drew from the wrong end of the wall and it wasn't noticed until she discarded. What are you supposed to do?
    >
    >Thank you for your time and consideration in reading and answering my questions.
    >Roni H

    Hi, Roni. Your questions:

    I was told that this group plays the Hong Kong version of the game but in my mind , if they do,the scoring was changed for ease of play. It's a $5 purse and every point is worth a dime. For example a semi pure hand is worth three points. Pungs of dragons are worth one point, etc.
    That sounds like Hong Kong style to me. If your group doesn't have a book to use as its reference, the most readily available and easiest to use is Amy Lo's book (see FAQ 2B and FAQ 3). There needs to be at least one copy present whenever your group plays.

    Allso, they do not call chow, they use the term chi (for a run of three). Do you know of any version of the game that uses chi in reference to a run of three?
    The Chinese usually say "chur" and the Japanese usually say "chi." See the glossary in the back of my book.

    In American if you have too few or too many tiles you have a dead hand and do not continue to play. In reading your book, you state that in Chinese a player in that situation cannot declare MJ. I didn't see anything about continuation of play. Some of our members feel that they should continue to pick and discard as that person may have a tile they need.
    Chinese "dead" is not the same as American "dead." When you're dead in an Asian form, you continue to pick and discard but you are not permitted to declare mah-jongg.

    What happens in Chinese when a tile is mis-called and someone declares MJ?
    I assume you are using the term "mis-call" to mean "misname." And it sounds like your players are doing something very un-Chinese: naming the discard aloud. If you're going to use an un-Chinese rule, then you have to use an un-Chinese solution.

    In Asia, players do not speak the name of the discard, so the fault of erroneous mahj is solely on the claimant who misread the situation. Since you're using a practice of American mah-jongg, you should use the American penalty. The misnamer should pay for all.

    The other incident occurred when a new wall was brought to the center of the table
    That's an American practice, not a practice done in Hong Kong. I've observed that when people serve the wall American-style, most people do not bother with making sure to keep the tail end close to the corner of the wall and the business end close to the center of the table. That makes for confusion.

    The first solution is "put the tail end close to the corner of the wall and the business end close to the center of the table." As for the second solution, what to do when that advice isn't followed, and somebody takes from the wrong end? As I wrote to "MJ" last night (below), the tile should go back on the wall. No penalty.

    it wasn't noticed until she discarded. What are you supposed to do?
    Everybody at the table goofed. Everybody was looking only at her or his own tiles; nobody was watching what was going on (including the player who had served the wall). You could throw in all the tiles. Or you could just play on. And everybody needs to pay attention to the whole table, not just his own or her own tiles.
    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
    April 24, 2016


    Took wrong tile from the wall

    >From: "MJK
    >Sent: Saturday, April 23, 2016 10:13 PM
    >Subject: question about erroneous picking from the wall
    >Hello Tom, I have read your Red Dragon Book and am interested in following the rules with my Maj friends.
    >Today I went to pick a tile from the wall and as I drew it toward me, another player pointed out that I had picked the wrong tile. I didn't see the picked tile, did not rack it and immediately tried to put it back on the wall in order to take the correct tile, but she thought I should keep it since I may have seen it. I understand that this mistake can result in a dead hand during tournaments, but we have not enforced that in our group and this would be a new policy that we have not enforced. Should I have taken the mistaken tile or should I have returned it to the wall and picked the correct tile? Or should we just have declared my hand dead?
    > Glad to hear your opinion and Thank you Tom for your great work. I did try to find the answer in your questions and answers column. MJ K

    Hi, MJ.
    I don't recall seeing a rule from the League about what should happen if the wrong tile is taken from the wall. I assume it has to be put back where it was (regardless of whether it was seen or not). If a tile is accidentally knocked off the wall, it's put back (regardless of whether it was seen). I don't believe a death penalty is required.
    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
    April 23, 2016


    How do we handle a slow player?

    >From: claire h
    >Sent: Saturday, April 23, 2016 11:06 AM
    >Subject: speed of play hong kong
    >Hi Tom,
    >we play Hong Kong style & use the Jelte Rep book. How long would you say is a reasonable time to take your turn, per go? some of our players sit & ponder for what seems like ages..... of course when some one is learning this fine, but...... I would like to gently encourage more experienced players to move a little more swiftly...I have been playing on mahjong time.com which gives you 7 seconds! any suggestions here?
    >Kind Regards
    >Claire

    Hi, Claire.
    A turn should not take longer than 15 seconds. Most of the time, 10 seconds is a long time to spend on a turn. A complete hand should be done in 10 or 15 minutes. A player who ponders and cogitates when it's his or her turn is not being considerate of others.
    A good player looks at his or her tiles during others' turns and knows what tiles he or she wants to get rid of. When one's turn starts, one usually just picks from the wall (it's less usual to take the previous player's discard, but it's not UNusual). Then, a good player already knows what tile to discard, without having to ponder and think interminably.
    You can read FAQ 19-BA and column 375 for more of my answer to this frequently asked question. You can link to the FAQs and columns above. 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
    April 23, 2016

    P.S. On the 25th, I added a follow-up post, above - Tom


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

    >From: Marie
    >Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2016 10:50 PM
    >Subject: Question
    >Hi tom,
    >A friend asked me this question.
    >Is it legal for a player during her turn to first replace a joker with a tile and them call for the discard using the joker she just had gotten from her opponent?
    >I think it is not legal but wanted to check with the master!
    >Marie Connolly

    Hi, Marie.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-M. 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 list of 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
    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
    April 22, 2016


    Is it prohibited to make markings on the card?

    >From: Vicki S
    >Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2016 7:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello! I've played with women who use a yellow marker to highlight all closed hands and others who say this is strictly against the rules. Is this considered a "table" decision or is there an official rule which forbids this practice?? Many thanks!
    >Vicki

    Vicki, ask these people who say marking the card is "strictly against the rules" to SHOW YOU the rule, in writing, direct from the League.


    The official rulebook, and a newsletter/bulletin.
    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    Tell them if they can't show you the rule, then the rule doesn't exist.
    I have to tell you, somebody asked me this before, and I don't get it. What is getting these ladies' panties all tied in knots? Why do they care if somebody marks up her card? It makes no sense.
    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
    April 22, 2016


    Are jokers prohibited, part 3

    >From: Susie
    >Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2016 12:24 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:using the 2016 card, #3 on 2016, I assume you can use a joker with 000 because it is 3 or more like tiles. Is that correct?
    >Regards, Susie

    Susie,
    You can use jokers in the twos, correct? You can use jokers in the ones? And you can use jokers in the sixes? Answer to all: yes, you can. Why is there a question about using jokers in the pung of zeroes? As I wrote to ho3carver (Tony) on Monday (below), you can use jokers in ANY pung, kong, or quint, no matter what the tiles are, no matter what section the hand is in, and no matter if Venus is in Pisces! Why would anybody think otherwise?
    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
    April 22, 2016


    Conflicting claim (who gets the tile; who gets a discard)

    >From: Robin M
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 6:41 PM
    >Subject: Who Gets the Tile
    >Hi Tom,
    >Today a tile was discarded. I called take, exposed my 3 tiles & reached for the discard to make my Kong . At that time the player next to the discarder said, oh I want that tile and I get it because I'm next in turn. Having exposed my tiles before she called for it, I thought she was too late as mentioned in the 2013 newsletter.
    >I was also, told I should always pick up the discard before I exposed my tiles. Is this correct?
    >Robin

    Hi, Robin. I didn't see a question in the first part (sounds to me like you already know what's what there), but you asked:

    I was also, told I should always pick up the discard before I exposed my tiles. Is this correct?
    I have never seen the League say any such thing in writing (if someone has seen such a thing in writing, please write me and cite the source). And it doesn't sound to me like a necessary or beneficial rule. In fact, it's accepted practice in China to expose the set before taking the discard.

    A lot of people have asked about conflicting claims recently:
    - Gail G asked "Conflicting claim" on April 18, two days ago;
    - Elisegk asked "Who gets a discard if two want it" on April 10, ten days ago;
    - Lana asked "Conflicting claim for exposure" on March 26, a few weeks ago.
    I wonder if I should write another column about this. I'd like to remind everyone:

    Next in line? Pause just a beat after the discard goes down. Give other players a chance to decide whether they want the discard. Don't "pickandrack" aggressively.
    Claimants should speak up quickly. How?
    - Be paying attention, looking as well as listening to every discard;
    - Be decisive, know ahead of time what tiles you are looking for. If you think you want it, and someone else calls for it, you'll have to speak before she exposes any of her tiles.

    Adhering to these principles will avoid some of the high-emotion conflicts that can arise when someone wants to call a discard. In the case described by Robin here, we actually have two people who want to call, but one was not paying attention, and/or wasn't actively being decisive.

    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
    April 20, 2016


    1999 and 2000, part 4

    >From: Frances H
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 7:53 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you for the fast reply!
    >I should have added that, being an avid reader of your website, I know to do my homework before asking a question! I searched the internet for an image of the 99 or 00 card, to see what the year hands looked like. But I couldn't find any. ??

    Good morning, Frances. I don't think you will find images online of the complete front of any NMJL card, for copyright reasons. I had to dig into my file cabinet to find hard copies. They're still shiny!
    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
    April 2, 2016


    Are jokers prohibited, part 2

    >From: ho3carver
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 4:16 AM
    >Subject: Re: 2016 Category on the new card
    >thank you for your reply. I am not sure why players on MJTI were insistent that jokers could not be used for a year related hand. I think they were arguing that for 2000, jokers could not be used because of the 2. It was a mute point but I felt it was confussing new players.
    >Yes we met in 2012 at Vegas.
    >Thanks again.
    >Tony

    It's nice to re-make your acquaintance, Tony.
    I see now that your question is related to Frances' question! The 2000 card was an anomaly. People saw the "rollover" of the digits to "2000" as a heady moment, a transition from "the past" into "the future," and there were all sorts of ways people memorialized the event, as if it were somehow important. Of course it wasn't. The League marked the rollover with a special grouping, "2000," and now that I look again at my 2000 card, I realize I goofed in my response to Frances last night when I didn't remember if jokers could be used. I didn't look at the card closely enough.
    Although it doesn't specifically say anywhere on the card that jokers may be used in a 2000, jokers were obviously needed because three of the four 2000 hands required the player to make two 2000s! A player would need six zeroes if she was making the first, second, or fourth 2000 hand. So jokers did have to be used; a player could use a joker to represent a zero, and a player could call a discarded zero to expose a 2000.
    But 2000 was an anomaly. There was a special rule in place just for that grouping on that card for that one year. What was done on the 2000 card cannot be used to explain or justify anything on any earlier card or any later card. Certainly nobody should be drawing any conclusions about an entire section on the 2016 card, based on the anomalous "Millennium" card sixteen years ago.
    Today, while it is true that "you can't use a joker in a 2016," that is not to be construed as "you can't use a joker in 2016." Somebody in your MJTI group must have misunderstood something someone said.
    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
    April 19, 2016


    Are jokers prohibited in the entire 2016 section?

    >From: ho3carver
    >Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 7:56 PM
    >Subject: 2016 Category on the new card
    >A controversy has occurred on MJTI concerning use of jokers for the 2016 category of the new card. All agree that 2016 are single tiles and no jokers allowed.
    >There are a few responders that feel no jokers are allowed for any hands in this category.
    >Do you feel jokers should be allowed for all Pungs and Kongs of Flowers, Winds, Whites, and numbers in the 2016 category?
    >Tony R
    >Vegas Mah Jongg Maddness 2012

    Tony,
    Jokers are allowed in any pung, any kong, and any quint on the card, no matter what section they're in, and no matter if the moon is full, and no matter if the price of oil in Saudi Arabia has risen.
    I am considering whether I ought to add this to FAQ 16 or not. I guess not (it's a weird question I don't expect to get asked a lot).
    Was I at MJ Madness in 2012? Did we meet? (Men are so rare at those things, men always say hello to 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
    April 18, 2016


    1999 and 2000

    >From: Frances H
    >Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 5:26 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Help please, with history.
    >Back in 1999, and also in 2000, were the dates considered a single plus a pung? If yes, were jokers and exposures allowed for the pung part of the date? How did the league handle the like number bunches, and the aesthetics of spacing on the card? Thanks!

    Hi, Frances.
    You didn't look at a 1999 card before asking this question. If you had, you wouldn't have asked. There was no "1999" grouping on that card.
    As for "2000," there was a special rule just for that year. You could call a zero to expose a 2000, but you could call for the 2 only if you had mah-jongg. I don't remember if jokers could be used, and the card doesn't say. Maybe a reader will remember. [Edit: I remembered the next day. See second response to Tony, above.]
    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
    April 18, 2016


    Rule against note-taking?

    >From: June S
    >Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 8:51 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Dear Tom,
    >My Mah Jongg question or comment is: I am vision impaired but my Mah Jongg friends are kind enough to let me keep notes regarding exposed jokers since I cannot see across the table. I am very grateful for their understanding. Is it allowed to keep any sort of notes when one is playing a game if someone does object?
    >I love your column and have learned a lot about the game I love.
    >Thank you for your expertise.
    >Your fan,
    >June S

    There's no rule against note-taking, June. If you go to a tournament, you'll need to let the organizers know about the solution you use to overcome your impairment. And if you ever play with a different group, you'll need to discuss that (and ask about the table rules in use there).
    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
    April 18, 2016


    Conflicting claim

    >From: Gail G
    >Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 7:40 AM
    >Subject: Mahj Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have been playing Mahj for slightly over two years and I love it!
    >Recently, I was playing and I racked a tile at the same time another player called for it. Who takes prescient in that case? The other player stated that if I racked as she called, she gets the tile. I had never heard this so would appreciate an answer on this.
    >Thanks for your input,
    >Gail
    >Life is good!

    Hi, Gail.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-H. 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 list of 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
    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
    April 18, 2016


    This week's column

    >From: "S, Libby"
    >Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 7:31 AM
    >Subject: Question about Column #651
    >Mr. Sloper, I have a question about #7 in your column #651.
    >7. Sevens and nines. There are two Odds hands (#2 and #6), and two Consec. hands (#2 and #5). Key tiles to look for: if 7C is dead, both Consec. #5 and Odds #6 are out; if 8C is dead, forget Consec. #5; and if 5C is dead, don't worry about Odds #6
    >Since 5C and 7C are pungs in Odds #6, it doesn’t matter if they go dead, right? Jokers could be used. Seems like 1C and 3C are the key tiles for that one.
    >Please let me know if I’m figuring this correctly; I’m still getting used to the new card!
    >Thanks,
    >Libby

    Good eye, Libby!
    Oops! I was too hasty there. I was looking at Odds #5, not #6, when I said 7 was a key tile. I have edited and fixed the goof, as follows: "Key tiles to look for: 1C 3C 7C 8C. If either 1C or 3C is dead, Odds #6 is out. If either 7C or 8C is out, you can stop worrying about Consec. #5." And I added attribution to you. Thanks for letting me know.
    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
    April 18, 2016


    It doesn't say "Any 3 Suits"

    >From: Carolyn D
    >Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 6:10 AM
    >Subject: card ?
    >Consecutive run #3
    >It does not say any 3 Suits does this hand have to be played as shown, bam, crack bam, dot, bam?
    >Carolyn

    Hi, Carolyn. You wrote:

    It does not say any 3 Suits
    It doesn't have to. That parenthetical is not necessary, since the color-coding is clear. It's 3 colors. 3 colors means 3 suits, and a color never dictates a suit.  Read Frequently Asked Question 19-AJ. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    does this hand have to be played as shown, bam, crack bam, dot, bam?
    You're asking, "do the kongs have to be bams?" No. The color- coding is never to be taken as standing for particular suits. There is no place on the card where color dictates a suit. Read FAQs  19-BY and FAQ 19-J. 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 list of 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
    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
    April 18, 2016


    The No-Joker Blues

    >From: Barbara L
    >Sent: Sunday, April 17, 2016 3:12 AM
    >Subject: Deal does not include jokers
    >Dear Tom, I get very discouraged when I am dealt a lousy hand with zero jokers. And then, as the game continues, I have no jokers and nothing else matches. Should I just play defensively ? Or still try to win?
    >Thank you,
    >PEnnsylvania lady.

    Barbara, really? Just because you get no jokers, you're ready to throw in the towel? Don't do that! Embrace the challenge! Jokers don't help when you need pairs and singles, and jokers are randomly distributed throughout the wall, sitting there for the taking. Sometimes you're playing with a Gladstone Gander who always lucks into all the jokers, but you still have a reasonable chance to win.
    If all things are equal (all four players are equally skilled), then you have only a 20% chance of winning. 20% of the time, there'll be a wall game, and each player will win 20% of the time (on average, over the long term). Does that mean we shouldn't play our tiles the best we can, every single hand?
    This week's column is about defense, not the Charleston, but you have inspired me to write a jokerless Charleston column sometime soon.
    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
    April 17, 2016


    Cascade of errors, part 3

    I just reread part 2 of this thread, and I saw something I missed before. It sounds like it's possible that Player B might have used a 1B to redeem the joker in the flower kong. But apparently nobody knows if that's what happened! So who should be dead? It's still player A. The flower/1B exposure is atop her rack. She has an illegal exposure, so she pays the penalty. She is responsible for making sure no 1Bs ever exist in any flower exposures atop her rack.
    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
    April 15, 2016


    She called and picked on the same turn

    >From: Ann T
    >Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2016 6:05 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A player called for a discard and placed it on her rack. Instead of discarding a tile she picked up a tile from the wall, did not see it, realized at that point that she hadn't discarded and placed the tile back on the wall. Is that considered a claimed tile making her dead?
    >I am donating to your site, thank you for answering my questions.
    >Ann

    Hi, Ann. You wrote:

    A player called for a discard and placed it on her rack. Instead of discarding a tile she picked up a tile from the wall, did not see it, realized at that point that she hadn't discarded and placed the tile back on the wall. Is that considered a claimed tile making her dead?
    The claimed discard did not make her dead. Picking a tile from the wall after taking the discard did; it's called "too many tiles in the hand." See rule 10 on page 18 of the official rulebook.


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

    By the way, she's not allowed to put the taken tile back on the wall. Read the "change of heart" rules in FAQ 19-AM. Those rules are all taken from the either the rulebook or yearly newsletters.


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    I am donating to your site, thank you for answering my questions.
    I would really appreciate that! 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
    April 14, 2016


    Do you have a mailing list?

    >From: Candy S
    >Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2016 5:03 PM
    >Subject: Mailing List?
    >HI Tom.. do you have a mailing list - or do you send out emails or do we just go to the site?
    >Candy

    Hi, Candy. Your questions:

    do you have a mailing list
    No. If you are looking to buy mailing lists, you've come to the wrong guy.

    or do you send out emails
    What?

    or do we just go to the site?
    To do what? I don't understand what this email is about. Is this about mah-jongg? What are you looking for?

    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
    April 14, 2016


    My goof is realized before part 2

    >From: Pat and Ann O
    >Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2016 8:57 AM
    >Subject: RE: MJ question
    >Thank you for your very quick response! I have ordered the official rule book and it will hold a place next to "The Red Dragon & The West Wind".

    Way to go, Pat and Ann!


    She won't get with the program

    >From: s
    >Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2016 7:41 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg sets
    >Our game has been in existence for seven years. We all have purchased our own sets except for one stubborn player (she flat out refuses to buy one). This means one of us has to "shlep" a set to her once a month. In addition, she has air-conditioning in only one room and refuses to buy a table on which to play in that room so that we don't play in her apartment for the summer. Resentment has been building for a long time and we're unsure how to handle the situation. Any suggestions?

    Hi, S. I don't have a happy answer for you. You can't make her change. You can't force her to buy stuff. For a number of reasons, she might not appreciate a gift of a set or a table. Resentment is a waste of brain bandwidth. If you can't accept her as she is with good grace, the group as it stands has about run its course. Trying to find a new player will add extra stress to the group. Seven years is a good run - many groups don't last that long.
    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
    April 14, 2016


    My goof is realized before I've finished exposing my hand

    >From: Pat and Ann O
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 6:24 PM
    >Subject: MJ question
    >Tom
    >I seem to be the one to which my MJ group asks obscure/subtle questions. You are my "go to guy".
    >Suppose I declare Mahjong and start to expose my racked tiles. Suddenly I realize I don't have MJ and everyone agrees my hand is dead (including me). Must I finish exposing the rest of my hand? Do I in fact put back the tiles to my rack exposed after my erroneous call?
    >Extrapolating from what I have read in your book about dead hands, I would think that no additional exposures are required and I return all tiles exposed upon the erroneously called MJ to my rack. (Too bad if opponents weren't paying attention to what tiles I held in my hand).
    >Thanks

    Hi, Pat and Ann. You asked:

    Suppose I declare Mahjong and start to expose my racked tiles. Suddenly I realize I don't have MJ and everyone agrees my hand is dead (including me). Must I finish exposing the rest of my hand?
    What would be the point? Everybody already sees that you're dead.

    Do I in fact put back the tiles to my rack exposed after my erroneous call?
    Yes. That's what it says on page 16 of the official rulebook. Every table should have a copy of the official rulebook!


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

    (Too bad if opponents weren't paying attention to what tiles I held in my hand).
    Look in the rulebook. Nowhere in there does it say, "players have a right to see all the tiles in a dead player's hand." If it ain't in writing, it ain't a 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
    April 13, 2016


    Cascade of errors, part 2

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 8:21 AM
    >Subject: Player A has a Kong exposure of 3 flowers and a joker.
    >Player B exchanges a tile for the joker and play continues.
    >After severL turns someone realizes that the Kong contains 3 flowers and a 1 bam. Who is dead?

    Hi, Jeanne.
    When I replied to you yesterday, I said I thought both should be dead. I guess what you've added to the question today is the element of time. It wasn't until several turns later, you say now, that somebody finally noticed that there was a 1B in amongst the flowers.
    I don't think we can rightly assume that player B was intentionally taking advantage of everyone else's ignorance of the existence of the 1B. Innocent until proven guilty, and only player A is dead. Still, though, as I noted yesterday, everyone else at the table erred by not having their eyes open (and their glasses on).
    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
    April 13, 2016


    Who plays next after erroneous mahj?

    >From: Susan B
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 6:42 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >This might be in the rules but I can not find it. If I call for a tile from the person across from me to make a MahJong and then find I have the hand wrong I put everything back on my rack except exposures that were there before the pick. I do not discard. Someone can call for that discard only for MahJong. Who goes next? The person that was skipped because of the call or the person to my right?
    >Thanks!

    Hi, Susan. You wrote:

    This might be in the rules but I can not find it.
    So you're saying you checked the official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy? Or did you check the January 2016 newsletter?


    The official rulebook, and a newsletter/bulletin.
    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    If I call for a tile from the person across from me to make a MahJong and then find I have the hand wrong I put everything back on my rack except exposures that were there before the pick. I do not discard.
    So you're saying somebody called you dead? You said "oops, this isn't right," then somebody else looked and said "yep, you're dead"?

    Someone can call for that discard only for MahJong.
    Yes, but if nobody else asks for it, that discard is now on the sloping front of your rack. Or are you saying you exposed your hand without taking the discard?

    Who goes next?
    Read FAQ 19-BP. 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
    April 13, 2016


    Cascade of errors

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 11:06 AM
    >Subject: What happens if a player exposes a one bam with her jokers by mistake? Another player exchanges a flower for the joker and the play continues.
    >Who is dead?

    Jeanne, I assume the one bam with jokers was supposed to be flowers. If there were no flowers (just the one bam and some jokers, as you said), then she who made that exposure is not dead - she has an exposure of one bams. But if the exposure has a one bam and at least one flower with any number of jokers (which I assume is what you meant to say), and she subsequently discarded, then she is dead and the erroneous exposure must be returned to the rack.

    As for the joker redeemer, that might depend on what was exposed, and the sequence of events. You said the exposure contained a one bam and some jokers. If that's correct, and your redeemer redeemed a joker with a flower, she's dead. But if you misspoke and the exposure had a one bam and at least one flower with any number of jokers, then the redeemer might have knowingly taken advantage of the fact that nobody noticed the error -- either that, or she compounded the error by not noticing the mix of tiles before acting. In my opinion, she should be declared dead, too. She should have paid closer attention to the meld from which she was redeeming a joker. She is responsible for her own part in the error.

    Now then, let's talk, shall we, about the other two players at the table. They, too, erred. They were playing with their ears but not their eyes. That said, they had no direct role in the deaths of the two, and they get to keep on playing, but I say shame on them for not keeping their eyes open! So, four people erred, but only two pay a penalty.
    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
    April 2, 2016


    Hand value, part 3

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 7:10 AM
    >Subject: point value part 3
    >Hi Tom-
    >Thanks to Donna's email of April 11, I have some reassurance that probability factors ARE considered by the NMJL. I did not like to think that the hands were just repeated on a random basis without any sort of testing. It seems like a lot of time and thought go into the making of each year's card.
    >Chicken scratch works for me! Thanks Donna and Tom.
    >Linda


    IP law, part 2

    >From: "coutu
    >Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 4:22 PM
    >Subject: Re: Patent Laws
    >Many thanks, Tom!


    Hand value, part 2

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 12:23 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hand value determination
    >>From: "lindaz
    >>Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 9:17 AM
    >>Subject: what determines a hand's value?
    >Hi Tom,
    >I called the NMJL years ago and asked this same question. If memory serves me, it seems when the new card is set in late summer the NMJL selects players to come in to test it. They play four days a week for about six hours a day. This takes place over about six or eight weeks. They figure out how many times a hand is made and price it accordingly. Knowing their avoidance of email and the computer (perhaps with some new people at the helm this might change), I imagined them using pencil and paper to record (maybe even using chicken scratches!!).
    >Best,
    >Donna

    Cool. Thanks, Donna!
    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
    April 11, 2016


    IP law and tile graphics

    >From: "coutu
    >Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 1:44 PM
    >Subject: Patent Laws
    >HI, Tom. Thanks for a great site!
    >My question involves patent laws for the tile designs.
    >May I feel free to copy any tile and put it on a
    >dishcloth or on a cocktail napkin or any other item???? I
    >have sent a SSAE to the National Mah Jongg League with
    >this question, but they have not answered and it has been
    >a while.
    >What if I were to sell the dishcloth, for example? Would
    >I be breaking patent rules???
    >Thanks.
    >Nancy

    Hi, Nancy.
    I am not a lawyer, and my words are not to be used as legal advice.
    You're not talking about patent law here. You're also not talking about trademark law. The aspect of intellectual property at issue here is copyright law. A manufacturer of mah-jongg tiles is going to have the same Chinese characters on their tiles as everyone else - but the calligraphy (the design) of the character is unique to that manufacturer. Same for the individual designs of the dots and bams, and the unique graphics on a manufacturer's flower tiles and jokers. In the case of the bone and bamboo tiles sold in the 1920s, each tile was carved by hand by an unknown artisan, and each artisan owned the copyright on the tiles he carved. In the case of most sets manufactured today, the manufacturers do not self-identify (they usually don't put their company names on the sets they manufacture). In a Google search just now, I found this, by Rich Stim of Stanford:

      All works published in the United States before 1923 are in the public domain. Works published after 1922, but before 1978 are protected for 95 years from the date of publication. If the work was created, but not published, before 1978, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

    So I would say you are probably safe to use graphics used by an anonymous company or artisan (they would have to find you, sue you, and prove definitively that they were the owners of the copyright). But don't use graphics from sets made by a known manufacturer.
    Je répète: I am not a lawyer, and my words are not to be used as legal advice.
    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
    April 11, 2016


    Mass suicide in Dixie

    >From: Ruth C
    >Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 10:06 AM
    >Subject: Who's next
    >Tom: We had a session that was a surprise to all players:
    >Dixie exposed on a closed hand, was challenged successfully and out.
    >Next play, Donna was challenged successfully on an unplayable hand and out.
    >Next, Dottie declared Mah Jongg, determined it was in error and was out.
    >Lastly, Lee exposed her hand before verifying Dottie's Mah Jongg and was out.
    >We had a good laugh.
    > from: Dixie C, Sarasota, FL

    Thanks for sharing, Dixie. Obviously, Lee shouldn't have done anything before verifying Dottie's hand. You might want to read FAQ 19-BW.
    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
    April 11, 2016


    Hand value determination

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 9:17 AM
    >Subject: what determines a hand's value?
    >Hi Tom,
    >Can you give us some insight as to how NMJL might determine the value of a hand? I was wondering why some 25 pt hands have 2 pairs and some have just one or none. Also, why are some concealed hands worth only 30pts? I imagine the mathematical probability of making certain hands is a major factor and I wonder what you know about this.
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda.
    I have never been present while the League leadership (leaguership?) is making these decisions. You know, of course, that almost all the hands on this year's card have been on previous cards before, and their values worked fine then. Hands in 2016 may seem new, but they are mostly similar to previous hands in "shape" or "pattern" (by which I mean, as you mentioned, the number of pairs, or the number of pungs and kongs, and the number of flowers). And past hands on past cards worked fine with those values.
    From discussions I've had with League leaders, I know that each new card is thoroughly playtested for months before it gets sent to the printers. So the values are not based solely on past values but also on how well those values worked during testing.
    Lastly, you mentioned mathematical probability. I doubt that anybody sits down with a calculator or a computer spreadsheet to figure out combinatorics or any sort of higher math.
    But what do I know. I live in California, and those decisions are made in New York.
    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
    April 11, 2016


    Who gets a discard if two want it?

    >From: Elisegk
    >Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2016 7:07 PM
    >Subject: 2 people calling for a tile
    >Hi Tom,
    >Would like your opinion on whether we made the correct ruling in the following situation.
    >Discarder threw a 5 crack. Person across from the discarder called for the 5 crack, put two 5 cracks from her rack on top of the rack and was in the midst of moving the discarded 5 crack onto her rack to complete the pung --but had not actually placed the discarded tile on the rack -- when the person immediately to the right of the discarder said "I want that 5 crack and I'm next in line so I get it.
    >Our game said that since the first caller had already exposed 2 tiles from her hand and placed them on her rack, she got to keep the 5 crack and the other person had not asked for it in time. But the 2nd caller thought that since the discarded 5 crack itself was not yet racked, the 2nd caller should have gotten it since she was ahead of the first caller in position to get the discard.
    >Wondering what the rules say!
    >Thank you
    >Philadelphia MJ Players!

    Hi, Elise. You're wondering what the rules say, you say. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-H. 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 list of 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!


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    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
    April 10, 2016


    Box

    >From: Beth
    >Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2016 10:19 AM
    >Subject: I know your expertise is tiles but thought I would ask
    >You previously answered some tile questions for me. I would like to know if you could give me any information (age, origin...) on the carved box they came in.

    Beth, your questions:

    age
    Between 90 and 96. Just a guess.

    origin
    China

    any information ...
    Unanswerable. Read FAQ 7P.

    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
    April 10, 2016


    Scoring in Hong Kong, part 6

    >From: claire h
    >Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2016 5:26 AM
    >Subject: Re: hong kong new style
    >Hi Tom,
    >Ok thank you for that. However if an all pung hand is worth 3 Fan & included in that hand is a double pung ( ie, hand includes two pungs of the same number in two different suits) you get 5 Fan in total Right? We find it hard to know when you can & can not include extra Fan...............?
    >Kind Regards
    >Claire

    Good morning, Claire.
    Ask yourself, "is it inevitable that this lesser fan must always be present when this higher fan is made?" And ask yourself, "can this higher fan be made without also making this lesser fan?" This principle I'm talking about also is used in MCR (Majiang Competition Rules, aka Chinese Official). In MCR it's rule 10.1.5.1., Prohibition against implied inclusions (see FAQ 22). If it's not inevitable that every time someone makes All Pungs there will also be a Double Pung, then award both fan if the player claims both.
    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
    April 10, 2016


    When was my set made?

    >From: Beth
    >Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2016 12:11 AM
    >Subject: Fwd: When were my tiles made? Can you tell if they were made in U.S. or China?
    >Can you give me an idea of approximately when my tiles were made? Are you able to determine if they were made in the U.S. Or China?
    >> My set came in a carved wood box that opens from the front and has five drawers. The bottom drawer is divided into four sections and contains sticks. There are also two extra blank tiles in the bottom drawer.
    >> The other drawers contain the 148 tiles that make up the set.
    >> The tiles are made of bone and bamboo. They measure 1 1/8 inches x 7/8 inches and are 1/2 inch thick (4cm x 3.2cm x 1.1cm). There is a very slight difference in width of some tiles but it can't be seen unless all of the tiles are lined up next to one another
    >> I believe the craks are what you referred to as the older kind but not sure
    >> There are eight flowers
    >> I purchased it on EBay was told it was from the 1920s or 1930s. It was not sold with racks
    >> I have not cleaned the tiles even though the seller suggested that I do so


    Hi, Beth. Your questions:

    When were my tiles made?
    It looks like a not-uncommon 1920s set. See Column 610.

    Are you able to determine if they were made in the U.S. Or China?
    You say it's made of bone and bamboo. I couldn't be certain of that since the photos are so out of focus. But bone and bamboo sets were not made in America. It looks like a Chinese-made set, from what I can tell in the photos.

    It was not sold with racks
    That type of set was not sold with racks. American department stores often sold racks separately.

    I have not cleaned the tiles even though the seller suggested that I do so
    You should be careful not to wash the tiles - the paint is water-soluble, and can wash right off. Read the cleaning tips in FAQ seven oh.

    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
    April 10, 2016


    Does an all-blue hand have to be made in Dots?

    >From: CAROL S
    >Sent: Saturday, April 9, 2016 1:11 PM
    >Subject: 216 Card Eleven Hands
    >Does the 1 suit MJ on the left hand option under the Eleven Hands have to be dots?
    >FFFF 2222 + 9999 = 11 are all in blue, which normally would indicate dots.
    >That section does not say (any suit).
    >Thank you.

    No, Carol. Your questions:

    Does the 1 suit MJ on the left hand option under the Eleven Hands have to be dots?
    >FFFF 2222 + 9999 = 11 are all in blue, which normally would indicate dots.
    No. Never. The color-coding is not to be taken as standing for particular suits. Read the back of the card, and read Frequently Asked Question 19-BY and FAQ 19-J.
    On the back of the card, it says 1 color = any 1 suit.
    "Any 1 suit" does not = "dots."

    That section does not say (any suit).
    It doesn't need to. It's one color, and one color means any one suit. Read FAQ 19-AJ. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    I'm going to add this to FAQ 16, which answers the most frequently asked question about the yearly card. I just posted this week the answers to the questions I expect people to ask about the 2016 card.
    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
    April 9, 2016


    Scoring in Hong Kong, part 5

    >From: claire h
    >Sent: Saturday, April 9, 2016 9:53 AM
    >Subject: hong kong new style
    >Hi Tom,
    >We play Hong Kong new style & use the Jelte Rep book for rules. Can you please tell me if we are scoring our game right. One of our group got a pure straight last night. Is that a score of 3 Fan or can she also score 1 Fan for young & old, that is also part of the straight? Always confused as to weather smaller scores within a larger scored are allowed or not.
    >Kind Regards
    >Claire

    Hi, Claire.
    A winner can add fan that are not automatically included in another fan. Pure Straight cannot be made without also making Young & Old, am I right? Therefore, Young & Old is "implied" by Pure Straight, and the score for Pure Straight already includes the points for Young & Old. (To put it another way, the points for Young & Old is already built into the score for Pure Straight.)
    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
    April 9, 2016


    In search of "tile printing software," part 2

    >From: Mary S
    >Sent: Thursday, April 7, 2016 2:44 PM
    >Subject: Re: tile software
    >Thank you for the information. I am familiar with using font software for images, delighted.
    >Mary Sanders


    In search of "tile printing software"

    >From: Mary S
    >Sent: Thursday, April 7, 2016 7:40 AM
    >Subject: tile software
    >Hi Tom,
    >Perhaps you can help me, I am trying to locate a software program that will print out individual mahjong tiles. I am trying to help my elderly Mahjongg buddies understand some of the hands by printing them out visually. I've noticed you have some hands illustrated like this. I have tried every Google combination that I know but keep getting references to game software or floor tile decorating software.
    >Is such a thing available?
    >I have a feeling, you being a designer probably created your own.
    >Any help would be appreciated. I've been using Word and making charts, printing them, then drawing the characters in by hand.
    >Mary S
    >Austin, TX

    Mary, what I use is a mah-jongg font. People have suggested to me that I should use images instead, because the images can be more colorful. But the font is so much easier to use on a regular basis. And it's a lot easier than drawing by hand.
    I have links to downloadable fonts and images in FAQ 5 (down at the bottom, under "Other MJ apps" or "Other Mah-Jongg Downloads"). If your elderly buddies play American-style mah-jongg, though, neither font was designed to support that variant. One has no Western indices, and the other has non-standard graphics (4B, 5B, 6B, 9B, 8D especially). Since I needed to write about American mah-jongg, I needed something different.
    So I took what I thought was the best font (the Japanese one), downloaded a font editor program, and created indices and a joker character for it. I tried several times to contact Yoshiki Kita, the creator of the font, but without success. My edited version is available for download at Sloperama.com/downlode/, in the mahjongg/ folder - but I do not offer technical support. You're welcome to download it, but then you're on your own. Don't ask me any questions about it! If you're going to ask questions, just don't download it in the first place. Oh, and unless I forgot to mention - I don't want to answer questions about how to use the font. It's a font. It's used like any other font. The zip file is unzipped like any other zip file. The font is installed the way any other font is installed. Google really is a friend. In your document editing program, open the font, then press all the keys on your keyboard (unshifted and shifted) one by one, and you'll see how it works.

    Here's what the Canton font looks like (I only use the 2D version, when I use it, which is not often):

    Here's Yoshiki Kita's original font:

    And here's the modified version I made from Kita-san's font:

    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
    April 7, 2016


    Is this just your interpretation, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 6, 2016 1:53 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Well Tom, I just got off the phone with Sandy from the NMJL office in NYC. I asked her if a player could call herself dead. She asked me why I wanted to know that. I said because I wanted to know what the NMJL’s rule was on calling yourself “dead’. She said that a player could call herself “dead” but she shouldn’t because “yada, yada, yada”. Then she read me, “A player should not call herself dead...” Well I looked up the word “should” in the “Oxford English Dictionary” and it defined the word “should” as 1. used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness. used to give or ask advice or suggestions.” So since the first meaning is the one most commonly used, I guess NMJL’s definition is from another dictionary. I guess if you don’t like your hand you can call yourself “dead” and no one would be the wiser , eh!! Sandy said she could go on and explain why you shouldn’t in more detail but she had a lot of phone calls to answer and hung up. Certainly she did not exhibit the attitude I would expect of an employee at the NMJL! Guess I will send an announcement to my 2 groups that calling yourself dead allowed. I doubt anyone would unless she was really dead because the members want to play. Will wonders never cease even in Mah Jongg? Thanks again for all you help. Lynn P

    Hi, Lynn.
    Haven't I said it's best not to telephone the League? You should send in your question by snailmail instead.
    As I said before, the League's use of the word "shouldn't" is a weaselly way of saying you "can't," but it's an unenforceable rule. I believe I covered it on April 2nd.
    - A player is not allowed to call herself dead if she isn't provably, visibly, dead in the eyes of the other players. She must continue playing.
    - It's bad form to call oneself dead when the others should be able to see that you are provably, visibly, dead - it's "best practice" (best strategy) to continue playing until someone else calls you dead.
    The League has simply never explained all this in writing. And it may not have been set forth clearly like this to the League staff.
    I do not recommend that you tell your players that they can call themselves dead frivolously.
    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
    April 6, 2016


    Advise on how to do a tournament

    >From: Dolly W
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 9:17 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello,
    >I'm a volunteer Mahjongg teacher at a senior center. I love my group and the game,
    >And would like to organize some type of tournament, to make the learning more fun.
    >We already have some good players. And some others getting better.Please give me some advise on how to do a tournament, in a simplified way, for my group to follow
    >Thank you,
    >Dolly W

    Hi, Dolly. Welcome to my website. Although I have never run a tournament myself, I have attended lots of them. That's the basis of the FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) that I wrote. Please read Frequently Asked Question 21. You can link to the FAQs above left. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about mah-jongg are found in the FAQs. 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
    April 5, 2016


    2016 #3

    >From: Ellie P
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 8:00 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Tom,
    >You most likely have addressed this already, but I cannot see the info on the 2016 card.
    >Question re 2016 hand (3rd hand down):
    >222 000 1111 6666(Any 3 suits)
    >Soap is considered 0, so you can choose to match the 6's or it can be a different suit. That is how I would play it, is this correct?
    >Thanks much,
    >Ellie P

    Hi, Ellie.
    Read the red note above the 2016 section on the card. When used as zero, soap can be used with any suit. The sixes don't have to be dots; the sixes can be any suit that isn't used for the twos or ones.
    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
    April 5, 2016


    Can I call a discard for a 2016?

    >From: Barbara O
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 3:27 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Question
    >Hi Tom
    >Can you call a tile for 2016, then exchange a joker from another rack and claim mah jong?
    >Thank you!
    >Barbara

    Hi, Barbara.
    I have to stop you after the first seven words of your question:

    Can you call a tile for 2016,
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-E. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    Once you see the answer to the first seven words of your question, you'll see that the rest of your question is moot. You don't have mah-jongg, because you didn't redeem the joker beforehand. It might help to read the March 20-21 discussion on Frequently Asked Question 19-M, below (with Ahuva and Judi).
    Please bookmark FAQ 19, and 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
    April 5, 2016


    Donation, part 2

    >From: H Jeanee
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 7:55 AM
    >Subject: Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from jeanee h
    >my pleasure.
    >I appreciate all the your column/site offers.
    >Jeanee


    Goulash, part 2

    >From: John and Robyn M
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 12:14 AM
    >Subject: Thank You
    >Tom
    >Many thanks for your information. No we didn't let our friend score this hand, but we will in future.
    >Cheers
    >Robyn


    When is a tile down? (FAQ 19-A)

    >From: Lil W
    >Sent: Monday, April 4, 2016 4:40 PM
    >Subject: When is a tile dead?
    >If you pick a tile,name it and almost discard it , is that tile dead? If Simone's hand is blocking a joker and you have gone through the afore mentioned steps then is the tile dead if it never touched the table but you want to exchange it?

    Hi, Lil.
    Welcome to my website. This question has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQs 19-A & 19-B. 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 list of 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!
    P.S. The source of FAQ 19-A and B...


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

    But I want to know more about Simone's hand. How is it blocking anyone's view of her rack? Is she one of those players who drapes a wrist over the rack? That ain't good etiquette!
    Shoot dagger eyes at Simone all you want, but rules is rules.
    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
    April 4, 2016


    The New Card, part 2

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Monday, April 4, 2016 6:08 AM
    >Subject: ? column 650
    >Hi Tom--
    >I'm looking forward to your observations on the new card--did not see it on your site.
    >Thanks, Linda

    I don't know why you don't see it, Linda. I see it just fine. Maybe you need to use a different browser.
    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
    April 4, 2016


    Formula, part 3

    >From: "ex
    >Sent: Monday, April 4, 2016 5:02 AM
    >Subject: Tournament cycles for Ed B
    >
    >Hi Tom, Senechal here.
    >Ed wishes to organize a tournament with 64 players for 12 rounds. While I do not know the perfect solution, I know of one that could satisfy his needs. Lacking a better name for incomplete systems, Dutch cycles (owing to their prevalent use in the Netherlands, it's not a round robin nor a swiss system) have the advantage of being simple to deploy if the number of participants is a multiple of a prime number. 68 works great (17*4), 56 less so (14*4 = 7*2*4). 64 is also an unfortunate number, because a player that move two apart from each other end up meeting after 8 rounds (16/2 = 8). Hence why they often limit registration to numbers like 52, 68, 76 and 92 when they can.
    >
    >This solutions uses the standard of moving players from one table to (the same, one up, two up, three up) for the first 8 rounds. The next three rounds have to send people to different tables out of sequence. Other tables have their player numbers raised by 1, unless they go over 16, 32, 48... then you simply take off 16.
    >
    >Round 1: 01, 17, 33, 49
    >Round 2: 01, 18, 35, 52
    >Round 3: 01, 19, 37, 55
    >Round 4: 01, 20, 39, 58
    >Round 5: 01, 21, 41, 61
    >Round 6: 01, 22, 43, 64 (Table 7 would consist of 07, 28, 33 and 54)
    >Round 7: 01, 23, 45, 51
    >Round 8: 01, 24, 47, 54
    >
    >Dutch cycles usually break down at this point. However, with 64 players, we have some room to assign more tables with minor adjustments. Rounds 9 through 11 consist of the following seating arrangements, but players will have to move differently than the established rotation.
    >
    >Round 9: 01, 25, 34, 60
    >Round 10: 01, 26, 38, 63
    >Round 11: 01, 27, 42, 50
    >
    >There is a possibility to make not only 12, but 16 rounds with no repeats, using the perfect shuffle of 16 within each group.
    >
    >Round 12: 01,05,09,13, 02,06,10,14, 03,07,11,15, 04,08,12,16 (Table 5 would have 17, 21, 25, 29. Table 9 would have 33,37,41,43)
    >Round 13: 07,04,13,10, 06,01,16,11, 05,02,15,12, 08,03,14,09
    >Round 14: 09,15,06,04, 10,16,05,03, 13,11,02,08, 14,12,01,07
    >Round 15: 12,13,03,06, 11,14,04,05, 15,10,08,01, 16,09,07,02
    >Round 16: 01,02,03,04, 05,06,07,08, 09,10,11,12, 13,14,15,16
    >
    >Ed could choose to use Round 1 through 11, plus 16 on the list if it makes things easier for him. In Riichi tournaments, there's special care used for wind balancing and anti-cheat mechanisms (making everybody move tables), but these seating arrangements do not have these. Hopefully this still helps him out.
    >May the seats be with you.
    >--Senechal.

    Hi, Senechal.
    I figured that, like you said, the solution is to change the rotation pattern after mid-day (or at least after the first rotation pattern has run its course). Thank you. Hope this helps him!
    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
    April 4, 2016


    Donation

    >From: jeanee h via PayPal
    >Sent: Sunday, April 3, 2016 7:55 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from jeanee h
    >PayPal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$18.00 USD from jeanee h. You can view the transaction details online.
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $18.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: jeanee h
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much, Jeanee! May the tiles be with you! - Tom


    The New Card Dissected

    Today's column reviews the new 2016 National Mah Jongg League card! Check it out!


    One tile is left on the table.

    >From: Shirley
    >Sent: Sunday, April 3, 2016 6:03 AM
    >Subject: MAHJONG QUESTION
    >One tile is left on the table. Can a player use her turn to pick up the last tile and then redeem that tile for a jocker in an opponent’s hand and then claim MahJong using the redeemed jocker?
    >Shirley M, Warwick, NY.

    Hi, Shirley. It depends what you mean by "one tile is left on the table." Do you mean one face-down tile (the last tile on the wall)? Because it's a very different answer if you're talking about the last discard.
    If you're talking about the last wall tile, the last player can do whatever she can do on her last turn that she can do on any other turn. Once she picks it from the wall, it's her tile and yes, she can redeem it.
    If you're talking about the last discard, the same rules apply to the last discard as apply to any other discard. No, she can't take it to redeem 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
    April 3, 2016


    How to interpret this new hand?

    >From: Ann T
    >Sent: Saturday, April 2, 2016 12:47 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >2016 card Consecutive Run
    >11 22 111 222 3333. (Any 3 suits, any 3 consecutive Nos)
    >If I am playing
    >22 33 222 333 can the pung be either 1111 or 4444
    >Or must it be the ascending number 4444?
    >Thank you!
    >Ann

    >From: Ann T
    >Sent: Saturday, April 2, 2016 12:49 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Whoops meant Kong !
    >Ann

    Hi, Ann. You're asking about Consec. #5:

    11 22 111 222 3333 (Any 3 Suits, Any 3 Consec. Nos.)

    And your question is what number the kong can be, when you have 22 33 222 333. Let me answer it by asking you: what number follows consecutively after 3? The intent of the card clearly is for the last number at the right to be higher than (to follow consecutively from) the preceding (lower) numbers. It's clearly intended to be an ascending pattern.
    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
    April 2, 2016


    Is this just your interpretation, or a rule?

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Saturday, April 2, 2016 6:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Playing American Mah Jongg. Last week we had a player call herself dead and I told her she couldn’t and that someone else had to notice she was dead and then call her dead. I checked your Q&As and copied this and sent it to players. Q: Can I call myself dead?
    >A: As I interpret the NMJL stand on this, you are not supposed to call yourself dead. You are supposed to play defensively until someone else calls you dead (and this is the wisest course, strategically speaking).
    >One of the players told me that “not calling yourself dead” was not a NMJL rule but “Tom’s interpretation.” She said that “not calling yourself dead” was not set in stone”! I countered with NMJL January 2015 Bulletin Q&A #3 about not announcing you are dead and also your book “RD&WW” p.64 #105 about not calling yourself dead. So is this “so called rule” your interpretation or a NMJL rule?
    >Help and thanks, Lynn P.
    >PS I know you can make table rules but our group plays by all the NMJL rules; no table rules.
    >PPS. I am looking forward to your column about the new 2016 MJ card. We played with it one day and it seems to be good as I was the big winner.

    Lynn, you've seen what it says in the newsletter. 2015: "You do not have to..." and 2016: "Q: Should you...? A: No... You do NOT have to..."
    To me, that's wishy-washy wording. Rules should be explicit, not wishy-washy, in my opinion. The League didn't say "no, you shouldn't" (question as asked was evaded). I have never seen the League answer the question, "Are you permitted to announce that you're dead?" THAT is why I always say "as I interpret the League's stand..." But I suppose it doesn't matter a great deal. If a player does announce that she's dead, other players can (and should) either confirm or not. Let's say a lady realizes that the hand she was trying to make is no longer viable, but she has no challenge-worthy exposures. She can moan about her lousy chances (it's unwise and non-strategic to do so, but this is a free country), but she can't just stop playing on her say-so when nobody else can see a reason for her calling herself dead. Nowhere in the rules does it say, "a player can stop playing if she's disappointed with her chances."
    Also: when you have the rule in writing direct from the League, it doesn't help to show my book. My book is not official.
    And: I just finished the first draft of tomorrow's column. Hope you like 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
    April 2, 2016


    Formula, part 2

    >From: Ed B
    >Sent: Saturday, April 2, 2016 11:51 AM
    >Subject: Re: Part2
    >Thanks anyway


    Formula for tournament table rotation?

    >From: Ed B
    >Sent: Saturday, April 2, 2016 8:26 AM
    >Subject: Tournament tables?
    >Tom,
    >we are running a tournament and will have 64 players at 16 tables with 12 games.
    >I am trying to set up the rotation of players and did use the
    >East-Stationary
    >West-2 up
    >North- 1 up
    >South-1 down
    >rotation,but when it came to the 9th round it seams that it starts repeating it self
    >How can i get it so all players play with each person 1 time?
    >Thank You for your help
    >Ed B

    >From: Ed B
    >Sent: Saturday, April 2, 2016 9:00 AM
    >Subject: Part2
    >Tom,
    >Just for info
    >i did set this up for 60players at 15 tables for 12 rounds and the players came out good with thr rotation working out,but like i said the 64 players will not work ??
    >Ed B

    Ed, your question goes beyond what I can answer. I think you need a mathematician or something, not a mah-jongg author. Did you read all the posts at the bottom of FAQ 21? I just looked, and there is a post describing a formula - but don't ask me to explain it. My brain has too much of my own world to concern itself with this weekend, and I'm no mathematician. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tables turn properly for 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
    April 2, 2016


    What type are these?

    >From: jennifer c
    >Sent: Friday, April 1, 2016 9:49 AM
    >Subject: Can you help me indentify the type of tiles I have?
    >Dear Tom,
    >I inherited my set from my grandmother, but I am having so much trouble identifying what kind of tiles I have (I need replacement tiles, although I realize that is a long shot since the set is rather old.)
    >I've included photos from my set and links to sets I've found online that look similar, even though I don't think the tiles online are the same as the tiles I have.
    >Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    >Thank you,
    >Jennifer
    >From ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Mah-Jongg-Sales-Co-of-America-Tiles-
    >Butterscotch-Bakelite-144-Tiles-
    >/272124758022?hash=item3f5be64806&nma=true&si=mtIBLp3cdxgKN6XSEVGqHf00IWI%253D&o
    >rig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
    >From Rubylane Vintage Games: https://www.rubylane.com/item/819447-102/Vintage-MAH-
    >JONGG-SALES-AMERICA-ready
    >From MahjongMahjong.com: http://www.mahjongmahjong.com/vintage_mahjong_mjsa/mjsa_102.htm

    Hi, Jennifer.
    I'm not sure what you mean by "type" or "kind," but since I have to guess, I'm guessing you want to know how to describe them so you can seek replacement tiles. Most services that help people with replacement tiles need a sample from you anyway. But if you wanted to, say, post an announcement on my Tiles Wanted bulletin board (link above left), or email someone, I guess you could tell them what material the tiles are, what color, and what dimensions - and you could tell them the name on the box. I didn't follow your links (I don't follow links, as it says in the boilerplate above). But based on the images you sent me I can tell you that as to material, your tiles are usually referred to as "applejuice Bakelite" and as to maker, your set is a "Ten Flowers" set (assuming the box and the tiles were originally packaged together).
    As for "type," I guess I'd say "pre-NMJL American-style."
    May the [replacement] 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
    April Fool's Day, 2016

    P.S. If anybody wants to follow Jennifer's links, I had to line-break them because long URLs break the board. So you'll need to remove the > character that appears after each line-break. - Tom


    2 Qs about NMJL rules (presumably)

    >From: Ann T
    >Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2016 6:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >1. Should I call myself dead when I have too many or too few tiles or should I keep playing?
    >2. Tie. What is the rule when a player calls for a discard and the next player picks and racks but it was deemed a tie between the players.
    >Ann

    Hi, Ann!
    Welcome to my website! The questions you asked have been asked many times before. I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your questions:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-AC. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-H. 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 list of 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
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 31, 2016


    Redeal

    >From: Walter S
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 5:06 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >After all tiles have been drawn and before the Charleston, can the players agree to toss all the tiles back and start over?

    There is a rule like that in Japanese mah-jongg, Walter. But you mentioned the Charleston, so you must play American, or possibly British/Australian rules.
    I've heard of an unofficial American table rule called the "frish," which is what you describe, but I don't recall ever invoking it. Before you adopt any unofficial table rules, please read FAQ 14. 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
    March 30, 2016


    Goulash

    >From: John and Robyn M
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 11:39 PM
    >Subject: A question on a goulash hand
    >Hi Tom
    >I have contacted you before and you have been great.
    >We were playing a goulash (and we always play ordinary mahjong with no chows) and one lady had a purity hand with a chow. Our rule book ( The Game of Mah Jong Illustrated by Thompson and Maloney) states No Chows are permitted in a Goulash hand unless part of a specialty hand. Does this mean that when you play a goulash you can play any hand you like?
    >I have tried to find this information in my rule book and I have had an extensive look on your website.
    >Your advice would be appreciated.
    >Cheers
    >Robyn M

    Hi, Robyn.
    I have to preface this with a disclaimer. I have never played your variant. The closest I've gotten is Mumbai style, and that was just for a couple of days.
    Can you play any hand you like during normal play? If so, then you can play any hand you like during a goulash, with the exception that it may not contain a chow. Exceptions to the no-chow principle are those special hands that include chows. Max Robertson specifies Imperial Jade and concealed mah-jongg (he defines concealed as Ordinary or Purity), and his list of special hands does not include Windy Chows.
    One thing I find odd and a little confusing in this style of mah-jongg is the term "Ordinary" - first, an Ordinary hand is considered a Special hand (which seems contradictory terminology), and second, an Ordinary hand is the same thing as "semi-pure" in other forms of mah-jongg. Makes one wonder what to call a hand that has tiles of more than one suit, and isn't a Special hand. You can't call it ordinary, because Ordinary hands are Special. Maybe "not special"? Or maybe "basic."

    But to get back to your question. You stated a specific instance, and used that to lead into a wide-ranging question. I hope I have satisfactorily answered that question, but I wonder what happened with the specific instance. Was the lady's purity hand with a chow accepted, I wonder. T&M say chows are permitted if part of special hands, and Purity can optionally include a chow.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 30, 2016


    Beijing rules

    >From: Joseph S
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 9:38 PM
    >Subject: Beijing rules
    >You might be interested in this web page I found:
    >http://kzpn200.blogspot.com/2016/03/beijing-mahjong-rules.html?m=1

    Joe, thank you! That's an excellent resource. I've added the link to 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
    March 30, 2016


    Mah-jongg restaurants on Long Island?

    >From: Jo-Anne M
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 7:24 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: are there still any restaurants on Long Island that allow you to purchase lunch and then play for a few hours? Thank you for any assistance you can offer.
    >Jo-Anne

    Well, gosh, Jo-Anne. I don't have a list of restaurants where one can play mah-jongg anywhere. Maybe somebody will read your post and send in some helpful info. You'll have to keep coming back to see.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2016


    The 2016 card is here, on the East Coast anyway

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Monday, March 28, 2016 4:27 PM
    >Subject: The New Card
    >Hi Tom,
    >We here in the East where the cards are mailed get our cards first and I want to tell those
    >who’ve not gotten them, they’re in for a treat. I counted the same amount of total number of hands with flowers,
    >(including flower pairs) and dragon hands to be the same as last year. They brought back a few oldies but goodies hands as usual.
    >The singles and pairs look a bit different than past years Smile and there is a 60 cent hand.
    >I look forward to hearing you take.
    >Also, I noticed your salutation of “Ask Mr. Mah Jongg a question”. I continue to recommend your book and website to my many students and refer to you as my” Mah Jongg Guru”!
    >Thanks for all the good you do for the game and it’s players,
    >Donna

    Hi Donna, when I saw your email, at first I wondered when my card was gonna come. When I got home, there it was, smack dab in my West Coast mailbox. Haven't taken a look at it yet. This weekend's column will go into it in detail.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2016


    We're playing your simplified rules

    >From: Joseph S
    >Sent: Monday, March 28, 2016 6:59 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello again!
    >I taught my fiancée and two friends mahjong from your simplified rules FAQ and we had a great time! We are going to play again, we just gotta settle on how to score our games now.
    >For your readers' help, I tried writing arabic numerals on the craks with a sharpie pen and they came off as soon as you rubbed the tile on anything. We just memorized the chinese numerals.

    Very cool, Joseph. Way to go!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2016


    My online mah-jongg game, part 2

    >From: Matt Peterson
    >Sent: Monday, March 28, 2016 6:51 AM
    >Subject: Re: Online American Mah Jongg game
    >Hi Tom, thanks so much for taking a look at the site!
    >It actually does support computer opponents, although you've revealed that it might not be as obvious as it should be. I just pushed out a quick change to make the computer opponent selector a bit more visible (see attached screenshot). You can also add computer opponents when at a table. I've attached a screenshot of that as well.
    >I'm working on a quick "How to play MyJongg.net in 3 minutes"-type tutorial video to get players up and running quickly, which should help as well.
    >Thanks again for your time and the recommendation on your site!
    >~ Matt

    Cool, Matt. I'll amend what I wrote in FAQ 5.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2016


    My online mah-jongg game

    >From: Matt Peterson
    >Sent: Friday, March 25, 2016 1:15 PM
    >Subject: Online American Mah Jongg game
    >Hi Tom!
    >My name is Matt Peterson. I came across your site while researching a question about Mah Jongg rules, and I thought I'd drop you a note. You have so much great information on your site!
    >I learned the game a few years ago, but was disappointed to see that there was no free place to play American Mah Jongg online. I'm a software developer by day, so I took some evenings and weekends and built one. :)
    >Originally, it was just intended to be a place for me to play with friends and family. Word-of-mouth has led to about 20-30 registered players with 10-12 that play somewhat regularly, but I'd love to grow beyond that. I was hoping you would give it a try and let me know what you think:
    >myjongg.net
    >It is free for now, and you can play against computer players or other people. The biggest missing feature I am working on right now is cards. The game has my own "starter" card, but for copyright reasons, you can't really play with other, more-recognized cards at the moment (e.g. NMJL, AMJA). I'm working on that, though.
    >I would love your feedback and suggestions. If you feel like the game is something you can recommend, I would appreciate it if you could also add it to your list of computer Mah Jongg games.
    >Thanks again, and have a great day!
    >~ Matt

    Hi Matt,
    I visited the site and it looks to me like it's playable against live players only. A lot of people are looking for something a bit less "daunting," where they can just practice against AI opponents. Like the lady whose email I found in my spam folder today (below).
    Anyway, I'll go ahead and list your site in FAQ 5 as you asked. 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
    March 27, 2016


    I need a CD to practice MJ

    >From: Marleen
    >Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2016 3:34 PM
    >Subject: Cd to play/practice MJ
    >Someone mentioned that you used to have a cd to purchase the I can play Mah Jongg off line so I can practice as I am a newbie and trying to practice as often as I can, thank you for any information, ~Marleen M

    I'm sorry twice, Marleen. First, I'm sorry that I didn't see your email until a week after you sent it. It was stuck in my spam folder, which I hadn't checked in a while. Second, I'm sorry to tell you that you're about 15 years too late. I did make a mah-jongg computer game, but it's out of print and no longer works on today's operating systems. I made two, actually: Shanghai: Second Dynasty, and Shanghai: Mah-Jongg Essentials.

    I worked at Activision back then. I no longer work there. Now I teach college students how to make video games, at USC.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 27, 2016


    Conflicting claim for exposure

    >From: Lana
    >Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2016 10:11 PM
    >Subject: American Mah Jongg discard
    >Two questions
    >1. Situation:
    > exposure for both players
    >Player #1 discarded 3 bam.
    >Player #4 claimed the discard, picked it up & had finished placing it on top of their rack.
    >Then Player #2 said, "I want it".
    >#4 had not started exposure.
    >Majority decided #2 should get.
    >Is that correct?
    >2. Based on info from your site, can a player verbally claim a discard while starting exposure & then pick up claimed discard to win the race?
    >(even though it's not a race!)
    >Your site says:
    >Player next in turn gets discard if subsequent player has not started exposure
    >Site also says "A: 2. Calling a discard, either for an exposure or for mah-jongg. Once you have either placed the taken discard atop the rack or exposed tiles from your hand, you have committed to making the play
    >Rephrase however u need to
    >Thanks
    >Lana R

    Lana, I believe you are asking the same question in two different ways. You want to know who gets the live discard when two players claim it for exposure, and you posited two slightly different scenarios. I refer you to the January 2016 bulletin/newsletter.


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

      Q: Player #3 called Mah Jongg on a discarded tile, but did not put up their exposure as yet. Then player #2 said that discard was her Mah Jongg. Who is entitled to the tile?
      A: Just as long as Player #3 had NOT started to make any exposure as yet, next in turn (Player #2) would be entitled to the Mah Jongg.

    That answer refers to conflicting claims for mah-jongg, but the same principle applies to conflicting claims for exposure. Although I always say "it's not a race," there is such a thing as too slow. The player who exposes first gets the discard.

    Your second question suggests a way that a player can be too fast (thus shutting out any other claims) - by exposing as rapidly as she can, simultaneous with the verbal call. Although the written rules do not go into this much detail, the late President of the League, Ruth Unger, approved of something I'd written in my book about aggressive play. In the 2008 bulletin, she started the Q&A page by quoting me, as follows:

      "The practice to pick and rack a tile makes it extremely difficult for anyone to claim the previous discard. It is ungracious and aggressive." - Tom Sloper

      The League is in agreement.

    The same principle applies to claiming for exposure. When there is a conflicting call and it's not crystal clear who should prevail, I apply the three-second rule in use by the Chinese Majiang Organization: as long as a player makes a move within three seconds, it should be recognized (even if another player has also made a move). A player can be too slow, but a player can also be too fast. Maybe one player was not clearly too slow - in that case, was the other player too fast? (P.S. It's still not a race.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 26, 2016


    I don't know its value

    >From: JAN H
    >Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2016 12:08 PM
    >Subject: Old set? Any good?
    >I just received this set and don't know it's value. 144 tile pieces. The tiles seem small to me. One inch by 3/4 in by 3/4 deep. Can you help me??
    >Also. Has a red case with dice and round marker to tell who is captain.
    >Any help will be appreciated. Thank you, Jan H

    Jan, it's worth $20 or thereabouts, assuming it's in like-new condition.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 26, 2016


    Could you possibly give me an evaluation

    >From: T S
    >Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2016 3:51 PM
    >Subject: Check list and Pics
    >Tom,
    >I've documented and photographed all the bits and pieces of a mah-jongg set that was passed down to me from my grandfather. I'm pretty sure I answered all of the Set Valuation Checklist; see the attached Word Doc. In short it seems to be a basic Chinese set with 148 tiles, made of bamboo and bone. Nothing out of the ordinary as far as I can tell.
    >Could you possibly give me an evaluation of the set? Perhaps you'll see something in the pics that I am not seeing. Perhaps the flowers/seasons are 'exotic' - beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    >I thank you in advance,
    >Tom Steele

    >SET VALUATION CHECKLIST:
    >1. Write a factual detailed list of all the contents of your set. Describe all the contents, listing all dice, chips, racks, etc
    >a. The suit of dots is numbered 1 through 9. There are 4 of each tile. 36 tiles
    >i. PIC 2 – Craks & Dots
    >b. The suit of bams is numbered 1 through 9. There are 4 of each tile. 36 tiles.
    >i. PIC 3 - Bams
    >c. The suit of craks is numbered 1 through 9. There are 4 of each tile. 36 tiles.
    >i. PIC 2 – Craks & Dots, PIC 5 - Craks
    >d. There are 4 different winds (East, South, West, North), 4 of each. There are 3 different dragons (White, Green, Red), 4 of each. Older sets and Japanese sets use blank tiles for white dragons. There are 8 flower tiles, which can depict all kinds of things; some of them might be named for the 4 seasons. Total: 36 tiles.
    >i. PIC 4 - Winds, Flowers & Dragons with 4 additional blank tiles
    >e. The above 144 universal tiles make up the basic Chinese set. Your set might have more than that. If you do have additional tiles, arrange those at the side.
    >i. Chinese -- 144 or 148 tiles (usually includes 4 blanks in addition to the 144-tile basic set), with Western indices (made for export)
    >1. PIC 1 – Basic Chinese Set with 4 additional blank tiles
    >f. STICKS AND CHIPS
    >i. Roughly an equal number of 1, 2, 5, and 6 dot sticks
    >1. PIC 11 - All sticks
    >2. PIC 10 – Sticks
    >g. WIND INDICATORS
    >i. Four Three wind discs and a cylindrical container (called by Babcock the "Mingg").
    >1. PIC 12 - Wind indicators & Dice
    >h. DICE
    >i. Five larger Chinese dice and one smaller ‘regular’ dice
    >1. PIC 12 - Wind indicators & Dice
    >2. IMPORTANT: Describe the condition of all the components of the set.
    >a. I would say that all of the components are graded GOOD to VERY GOOD. Other than one of the sticks being broken, I cannot see any visible damage.
    >3. What are the tiles made of?
    >a. Bone is by far the most common material used in antique Chinese Mah Jongg sets, and it is usually dove-tailed with bamboo
    >i. PIC 7 - Dovetailed Bamboo
    >ii. PIC 8 - Bamboo back of tile
    >iii. PIC 9 - Side view
    >4. Describe what you know about when the set was made or purchased, if you know. Describe the history of the set to the best of your knowledge.
    >a. I do not know anything concerning when the set was made or purchased.
    >b. This belonged to my grandfather. He was born in the late 1800’s probably around 1880. He is of German descent, but was an orphan. He grew up in Chicago and later moved and worked in Norristown, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.
    >5. What are the dimensions of the tiles? Use either inches or metric (one or the other, not both - doesn't matter which; just be precise). Height, width, depth. If the tiles are bone & bamboo, give thickness of the bone portion.
    >a. Depth: 7/8 inch
    >i. Bone: ¼ inch
    >ii. Bamboo: 5/8 inch
    >b. Width: 1 1/4 inch
    >c. Height: 1 5/8 inch
    >6. How many tiles are there in the set?
    >a. There are a total of 148 tiles
    >i. PIC 1 – Basic Chinese Set with 4 additional blank tiles
    >7. What other pieces (besides tiles) are included with the set?
    >a. See question 1
    >8. What kind of container does the set come in?
    >a. Wood – one of those flat boxes with a sliding top. Three compartments (for tiles, sticks and dice & wind indicators)
    >i. PIC 13 - Lid detail
    >ii. PIC 14 - Box detail
    >9. What condition is the container in?
    >a. No brass doodads
    >10. Does the set have any paper materials?
    >a. None
    >11. Which kind of craks are in this set -- the older kind or the later kind? Take a picture to provide to the appraiser.
    >a. Older kind. PIC 5 – Craks
    >12. Provide a picture of the One Bams
    >a. PIC 3 – Bams
    >13. Provide a picture of the dragons too
    >a. PIC 4 - Winds, Flowers & Dragons with 4 additional blank tiles
    >14. And provide a picture of the flowers /seasons.
    >a. PIC 4 - Winds, Flowers & Dragons with 4 additional blank tiles
    >15. How many jokers (if any) does the set have?
    >a. None

    >From: T S
    >Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2016 3:53 PM
    >Subject: RE: Check list and Pics
    >Two additional pics that didn't make the previous email due to Outlook attachment limitations.
    >Thanks,
    >Tom

    Hi Tom,
    There are two unusual things about your set:
    Either the tiles are unusually large, or you mismeasured them. You say they're 7/8 by 1-1/4 by 1-5/8? If that's correct, your tiles are extraordinary for their size alone.
    Your set includes a set of poker dice and a green pawn from a Parcheesi set or something. The poker dice and pawn can be removed from the set, since they don't belong.

    You said that your set has "Four Three wind discs and a cylindrical container (called by Babcock the "Mingg")." But in your photos, I see only two discs. Your Mingg is missing the lid. And you have only one die (those sets usually came with four tiny bone dice).

    Your flowers are not special. I would say that the condition of the tiles is Good, since I could see Haversian system and a chipped corner in the photos. You didn't mention whether the lid fits the box well (i.e. it's not warped or misshapen, which happens with some of these boxes), so I'll just assume it fits okay. I'm also assuming that the measurements you gave me are wrong, and that the tiles are normal-sized. I'd say the value is somewhere around $60, give or take $15. If the tiles really are as big as you say, then add $20 or $30.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 24, 2016


    Frequently Asked Question 19-P

    >From: Sara J. O
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 7:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Clarify play after a hand is declared dead:
    > - player declares Mahjongg, starts to expose tiles (she has only 13 tiles) , so she is dead
    > -some of the hand was exposed earlier: those jokers which were in the displayed tiles are the only ones able to be exchanged and the newly exposed tiles are “off limits”- correct?
    > -should she just keep those almost exposed tiles in her hand or must she finish exposing them?
    >Sara

    Sara, your questions:

    -some of the hand was exposed earlier: those jokers which were in the displayed tiles are the only ones able to be exchanged and the newly exposed tiles are “off limits”- correct?
    Yes. That's what it says in FAQ 19-P. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    -should she just keep those almost exposed tiles in her hand or must she finish exposing them?
    Neither. See FAQ 19-P. She has to put all her newly exposed tiles back on the sloping front of the rack. 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 list of 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
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 24, 2016


    Donation

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    >Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 8:29 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from James J
    >PayPal
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    Thank you, James!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 24, 2016


    Frequently Asked Question 19-M; When can I redeem a joker?

    >From: Rachel W
    >Cc: Roy <starlink; Lisa O
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 2:14 PM
    >Subject: Time when to exchange joker
    >Hi!
    >We were playing mahj last night and one player wanted to exchange a joker in this order:
    >1. Pick from the wall = 5 DOT
    >2. Didn't need that "picked" tile so discarded and named that tile 5 DOT
    >3. Wanted to exchange an exchanged an exposed joker with a tile from her hand.
    >We explained that this was not permitted because once she tabled and named the 5 DOT tile her turn was over.
    >We allowed her to do the exchange, but was her turn over when she tabled and named the tile?
    >Looking forward to your reply.
    >Regards,
    >Rachel

    Rachel, you are correct that her turn ended when she discarded. For the rest of it (if you still have a question), read FAQ 19-M. 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 list of 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
    March 23, 2016


    Age and value?

    >From: Sharen B
    >Sent: Monday, March 21, 2016 3:05 PM
    >Subject: RDC Jumbo Catalin Mah-Jongg Set -1923 or later?
    >Hello Tom,
    >I am so happy to have found your website and FAQs. I’m trying to determine the value of my set. After reading through your FAQs, I think I may have a “mixed” set.
    >It came with a 1923 red soft copy of Babcock’s rules book. The overall condition is good. The case smells a little musty, the handle is missing and the corners are a little scuffed.
    >The set contains:
    >160 tiles
    >109 coins (24 blue, 35 red, 17 white, 25 green and 8 yellow)
    >2 die
    >1 bettor
    >5 racks (blue, green, red, yellow, gold)
    >Some of the tiles appear to be from a different set, but I could be wrong. I’ve attached photos. I look forward to a reply in your Q&A bulletin board.
    >I’m so confused about the age and value of this set, I hope you can help me. I look forward to your reply in the Q&A bulletin board.
    >Thanks very much for your time and expertise!
    >Best Regards,
    >Sharen B

    Hi, Sharen. To respond to your comments and your two questions:

    I think I may have a “mixed” set.
    Other than that the Babcock booklet doesn't belong, what else are you talking about? The rest of it looks pretty standard "RDC," as you call it.

    It came with a 1923 red soft copy of Babcock’s rules book. The overall condition is good.
    I think the booklet looks in VG condition, not G. As I wrote in FAQ 7H, you needed to break it down, and state the condition of every different component of the set.

    160 tiles
    You needed to break it down, but the photo tells the story there. You didn't say what the condition of the tiles is. I'm going to go with G, since that's what you called it.

    2 die
    2 dice, you mean.

    Some of the tiles appear to be from a different set, but I could be wrong.
    I don't see that in the photo. The blanks look darker than the other tiles, probably caused by their not being used as much.

    [what's the] age
    The booklet doesn't belong with this set. The booklet has value, around $15 by itself. You said the set is a Frankenstein, but you didn't lay out any evidence. If it is comprised of tiles from different sets, then it cannot be aged. But if the tiles were all packaged together originally, that gives us key information. The key here is this part of the set:

    That's 22 flowers. Six ones, five twos, five threes, and six fours - I counted, because I wanted to see if there was an incomplete set (you didn't even try to arrange them in sets). So, your set has 22 flowers and 4 jokers. Look at the table in Column 509. The 1956-57 NMJL card called for 22 flowers, but no jokers. The 1962-1966 card called for 4 jokers, but 12 flowers. It's hard to determine which card RDC was trying to satisfy. I do not know when RDC started adding jokers. They might have done that before 1960, even though the League wasn't requiring them yet. And they might have kept including 22 flowers in sets, even though the League never went that high again after 1957. All I can do is guess that the set might have been made sometime between 1956 and 1966.

    [what's the] value
    The case is a mess: smelly and no handle. The number of chips is not divisible by 4 (some are missing). And you said the rest is just Good condition. So I'd say it's worth about $125, give or take $20 (not including the Babcock).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 21, 2016


    Frequently Asked Question 19-M, part 3

    >From: "judi@mahjonggfunla
    >Sent: Monday, March 21, 2016 7:40 AM
    >Subject: bulletin board question.
    >Hi Tom,
    >I completely agree with what you said on the bulletin board to Ahuva yesterday. Gladys Grad and a few others, including Bill, don't agree. They say it is a legal mah jongg.
    >There is a long thread on the That's It sight that I started on Saturday.
    >Judi Nachenberg
    >Mah Jongg Fun L.A.

    Hi, Judi. Well, you and I are right. Let me change one small thing in the example, and see if this impacts the answer, okay? Here's what the player is holding:

    Now, let's say that instead of an E, a player discards N. The player may kong the Norths. Now that she has 14 tiles in her hand, she may redeem her own S, and the only tile she can discard is the joker.
    My point is: Konging is permitted. Exposing a single tile is not. The League ruling in the 2016 bulletin is that the player must make the full exposure (in the case of mah-jongg, that means the full correct and complete hand) BEFORE one is permitted to redeem a joker. In the case of this player, she is not able to expose a full correct and complete hand before redeeming the joker. Therefore it's an illegal 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
    March 21, 2016


    Frequently Asked Question 19-N

    >From: Laurie G
    >Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2016 6:30 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I no you can take a players joker that is exposed at your turn can you take 2 jokers on your turn or do you have to wait for next turn
    >example: if a player has 2 flowers and 2 jokers exposed
    >its my turn and I have 2 flowers in my hand can I take both jokers or do I have to wait to my next turn to take the second one
    >Thank you
    >Sincerely
    >Laurie

    Hi, Laurie.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-N. 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 list of 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
    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
    Vernal Equinox, 2016


    Frequently Asked Question 19-M, part 2

    >From: "ahuva
    >Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2016 4:11 AM
    >Subject: Re: Question
    >Yes Tom, I have your book and also looked over your web site prior to my sending you the question.
    >Although it says you have redeem a joker on your turn, this situation sounds like a little bit of manipulation.
    >She has the 4 tiles exposed on top of her rack. So am I to understand that once she has made an exposure, she is unable to change it unless it's her turn? In other words she called Mah Jongg with the East and had to do illegal manipulation with the joker? There is no rule that I could read that says when you call Mah Jongg everything has to be in place and you cannot change around any jokers She really didn't have Mah Jongg. It does seem like trickery to me. I guess one really has to understand the concept of joker exchange. Although this sounds clever to some, others feel that it's not allowed, including myself.

    Good morning, Ahuva. Taking your latest, point by point:

    [your book and your website] says you have redeem a joker on your turn
    It doesn't say just that. It also says you have to first have fourteen tiles in the hand, before making the redemption.

    am I to understand that once she has made an exposure, she is unable to change it unless it's her turn?
    She has to make a complete exposure, and then she may make a joker exchange. Here's what she had in her hand:

    Based on what you said, she has an exposed kong of S with a joker exposed, and the fourth S in her hand, which she has not yet redeemed from her own exposure. She is holding 13 tiles. She is waiting for a single E, but she is not ready to call it because the S has not yet been redeemed.

    So am I to understand that once she has made an exposure, she is unable to change it unless it's her turn? In other words she called Mah Jongg with the East and had to do illegal manipulation with the joker?
    Yes. Her mistake was on her prior turn, when she could have redeemed the S but did not.

    There is no rule that I could read that says when you call Mah Jongg everything has to be in place and you cannot change around any jokers
    Read the 2012 newsletter. In fact, read the 2016 newsletter (which all League members received two months ago): "You must be able to pick up the discard and make your full exposure WITHOUT the help of the joker. Your exchange always comes AFTER you call for your discard." The first sentence of that is the applicable part, since this is not simply an exposure but rather mah-jongg. Since she needed a single, she needed to expose her complete hand -- her hand needed to be complete (the joker already exchanged) -- before she could legally take the single. She exposed NNNS before making the exchange, and that's illegal, not per the card. She didn't legally have her 14th tile, the single E, before making the exchange.


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    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
    Vernal Equinox, 2016


    Frequently Asked Question 19-M

    >From: "ahuva
    >Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2016 8:08 PM
    >Subject: Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >There was a big discussion on the Internet regarding this move and whether or not it is legal.
    >Player has an exposure atop her rack. She has SSSJ.
    >Another player discards an E.
    >Player with the exposure calls Mah Jongg.
    >She is playing the NNNN EW SSSS 2015 hand.
    >She is now exposing her "winning hand", she has a S in her rack.
    >She puts up all her tiles, takes her S from her hand, replaces the J and uses it for her NNNJ.
    >Legal or not?
    >Thank you,
    >Ahuva NYC

    Hi, Ahuva.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-M. 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 list of 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
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 19, 2016


    Donation

    >From: Victoria K
    >Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2016 7:53 AM
    >Subject: Donation
    >Tom,
    >Thanks for your free website with all the wonderful Mah Jongg information.
    >I've just made a $25.00 donation to thank you for sharing your expertise with us all.
    >Victoria K
    >(Vicki K

    You sure did! Thank you very much, Vicki, b'gosh and b'gorrah!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    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.
    San Francisco, California, USA

    St. Patrick's Day, 2016


    What if I'm dealer and I have a complete hand at the end of the Charleston?

    >From: Bernice H
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 5:58 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Was East today, and at the end of the Charleston, I had mahj. Legal or not?

    Hi, Bernice. Welcome to my website. Of course it's legal. Say "mah-jongg." I never saw an official rule that says who pays double, in this precise instance - presumably, if you got the final tile in the last right or the courtesy, the person who gave you the final tile pays double. But if you got the final tile in the second across, then blind passed three and eschewed the courtesy, then I suppose the player across is the one who gave you mah-jongg. But it's odd that nobody but you can know who gave you the final tile, so I don't know.
    On a related matter, if you had a complete hand before the Charleston started, that's called "Heavenly Hand." You can read about Heavenly Hand in Frequently Asked Question 19-BJ, and you can also read column 476 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. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found 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 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.
    San Francisco, California, USA

    The Ides of March, 2016


    Can a players have two double tile of the same?

    >From: GRAD
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 6:40 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can a players have two double tile of thee same ie four N

    Hi, Grad. I'm sorry, but I don't have enough information about your question. I guess you're talking about two identical pairs? Why do you ask? What mah-jongg rules do you play? Not American (if you played American mah-jongg, you'd only play the hands listed on the card). If you don't know what rules you play, can you tell me the author of the book you use, and the title of the book, or the address of the website, or the part of the world your rules come from? You could also check FAQ 2B to get help with identifying what kind of mah-jongg you play. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    And I also need to understand the reason for the question - what is it the player is trying to do, what is he or she trying to use the two pairs for?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    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.
    San Francisco, California, USA

    The Ides of March, 2016


    Picking from the wrong end of the wall

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 9:26 AM
    >Subject: [No Subject]
    >What happens if someone picks from the wrong end of the wall?

    Well, Jeanne, if you're playing American mah-jongg, you can call her dead. If she's a raw beginner, most people would let her put it back, take the right one, and keep on playing, with a warning that next time she'll be dead.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    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.

    San Francisco, California, USA
    The Ides of March, 2016


    Column: Pacific Mahjong League, SoCal

    In this month's column, I report on a pleasant "Free Play" afternoon organized and hosted by Ryan Gan. Kira Nebilak, owner of the League, provided some beautifully illustrated guides she'd written.



    Ryan and Kira, organizers of the day's activities

    Learned a new way to play with mah-jongg tiles, too. So check it out!
    For players of American (NMJL) play, expect a column on the new 2016 National Mah Jongg League card, around the first of April!
    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
    3/13/2016


    Ever heard of this version?

    >From: W Marcia
    >Sent: Saturday, March 12, 2016 6:30 AM
    >Subject: The Complete Year?
    >Dear Tom,
    >I have moved to Sun City in Georgetown, Texas. I have played Hong Kong MJ in Hawaii for 25 years and I joined a Chinese MJ group here in Sun City. The instructor said she plays "The Complete Year" version, but I am perplexed by her rules and cannot find anything about it on line. I have followed your site for years and appreciate all you do for the love of our game!
    >
    >Many rules were odd to me:
    >The wall is broken from the left and the dealer keeps East designation through the entire game.
    >There are no wind changes.
    >Honors tiles are not recognized.
    >No one is allowed to touch the tiles during the deal; the dealer hands them out.
    >There are 4 dragons! An additional dragon called a "golden dragon" has been added. This was a tile with a rhinestone glued to the middle.
    >A winning hand can have as many twosomes as is needed to win.
    >A winning hand can have NESW, 3 different dragons or, in this case since they have a 4th dragon, 4 different dragons.
    >Flower/Season tiles are melded at will. The dealer must hand out the flower tile when the exposing.
    >There are no fans.
    >If one is ready to Mah Jong, she can steel an exposed tile from anywhere in order to win.
    >
    >These are just A FEW of the rules that were new to me. I was so perplexed and frustrated. I realized that some rules may be different from group to group, but I was certainly surprised at this set of rules. I started researching and could find nothing. Can you enlighten me?
    >These folks think they are learning Chinese Mah Jong, and perhaps they are learning a version that I have never heard of.
    >Mahalo nui loa,
    >Marcia W

    Hi, Marcia. There's no need to feel perplexed or frustrated. Of course this is a version you have never heard of. I never heard of it, either. It's possible your teacher made this version up herself, or perhaps it is or was a popular or upcoming regional variant somewhere. If it's her own creation, then she probably thinks this way of play is more fun than traditional versions, or she came up with it to solve a problem. More on this at the end.
    As mentioned a couple of sentences before, it might be a variant not of her creation, from somewhere she lived in the past. If so, perhaps we can find someone else who has heard of it, so we can find out some more about it, if we could fill in a few gaps. Towards that end, I have some questions you can ask your instructor, and I have some questions about your description.
    Tell your instructor that you know "The Complete Year" is different from Hong Kong Old Style, New Style, Shanghai style, Competition Rules, World Series rules, Sichuan style, Shenzhen style, and Fuzhou style. Tell your instructor that you've been in touch with "another expert" (letting her know that you are not questioning or casting any aspersions on her expertise) and there is a lot of interest in learning more about this "interesting" way of playing.

    Questions for your instructor:
    If you played this in China, what city?
    How do you say "The Complete Year" in Chinese? (Maybe we can find information on the internet, if we know the version's Chinese name.)

    Questions for you, based on your description:
    I gather from what you say that East always starts every hand with 14 tiles. You said it's for "the entire game." Since there are no rounds, does this mean "the entire evening"?
    Does she always take the East position, or is it determined by some other means, and if so, what is the means? Dice roll?
    You say honors are not "recognized," but winds and dragons are used in the game, and can be used to form groups of various types. What does "recognized" mean?
    Is this Golden Dragon tile a manufactured tile? Or does it look handmade? I would love to see a photograph.
    You said, "A winning hand can have as many twosomes as is needed to win." I don't follow. Are you saying a hand can be formed of any number of pairs, chows, kongs, and ESWN, WGR, or WGRG?
    I assume (since you did not say otherwise) that the hand is usually 13 tiles, and a player wins on 14. Is my assumption correct?
    You described a 4-single-winds combo as "NESW." That confuses me, because N is considered the "first" wind only in American mah-jongg, and S comes before W only in un-American variants.
    It sounds like the Complete Year set has the usual 8 flowers. Adding four Golden Dragons, is the complete set then 148 tiles?
    If there are 148 tiles, the four walls must not be all of equal length. Can you tell me how the extra four tiles are added to the four usually-18-stack walls?
    You said "The dealer must hand out the flower tile when the exposing." I presume you mean that when a player exposes a flower, she or he is not permitted to take a replacement from the back end of the wall - that only the dealer is permitted to touch any tiles on the wall, so the dealer hands out any and all replacements.
    A thought just occurred to me. When a SWEN is formed, or a WGRG is formed, is that considered a kong, in the sense that a replacement tile is needed? Or are all kongs just treated as "four tiles" instead of "a glorified pung"?
    You said, "There are no fans." Can you tell me what you mean? Are you saying nothing doubles the score, or are you saying there are no scoring elements treated differently from any other?
    Is the game scored? How?

    I said at the opening, "If it's her own creation, then she probably thinks this way of play is more fun than traditional versions, or she came up with it to solve a problem." I wanted to say some more about that. There is a new "variant" going around in American circles, called "Siamese Mah Jongg®." It's not from Siam, it's from Gladys Grad, owner of mahjongg.com. People do make up their own games. The "problem" Gladys was solving was "American mah-jongg isn't fun with just two people, and sometimes there are only two people who want to play." If your instructor created her own variant, then there are a number of possible "problems" she was trying to solve. Maybe she found other forms too complicated to teach. Maybe she discovered that people were dissatisfied with scoring systems of other forms. If the set is a manufactured set, then some manufacturer sees a market for this type of set, so I would think she didn't create it herself. Even if she didn't invent it, she could still be using her own table rules.

    I look forward to learning more about this unusual variant.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 12, 2016


    Please help identify which is which

    >From: Mary J
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 9, 2016 5:46 PM
    >Subject: Tile question
    >Hi,
    >I have played Mahjongg (a long time ago) and recently was gifted with a Mahjongg set. I've identified the Dots/Circles, Bams and Cranks in the set, 108 tiles. I'm not sure how to identify the remaining 36 tiles. I know they should be Winds, Dragons and Flowers but I'm having trouble identifying which is which. Can you take a look at the attached and provide some insight? I look forward to hearing from you.
    >Thanks,
    >Mary

    Mary, why don't you just compare them with the tile images in FAQ 7B? And you'll find your red tiles in FAQ 7E. And see FAQ 7A, too. You can link to the FAQs above left. Please always check the FAQs first, 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
    March 9, 2016


    Windows 10, Shanghai Second Dynasty, and Riichi Majan

    >From: Marsha F
    >Sent: Monday, March 7, 2016 5:07 PM
    >Subject: windows 10 and second dynasty mah jongg
    >Hi Tom,
    >I'm been a fan of yours for gee how long has it been since you developed Second Dynasty mahjongg? I remember emailing a few times for a few hints to make sure that I was inputting my NMJL cards correctly over the years. Even had a problem with the 2015 card but chose not to ask you about it.
    >My issue now is that it works fine on my Vista laptop and now that I've upgraded to a brand new Windows 10 laptop, I need to know if it will work with Windows 10. I have both the original CD and the patch.
    >On another note, I am hearing about Richi Mah Jongg. I wonder if that is the same Japenese Mah Jongg that you play? Is that what they play in Europe? Is the Japenese mah jong on second dynasty the same as Richi mah jongg?
    >Take care and hopefully spring will be here soon,
    >Marsha F
    >aka craftygal or craftygal7388

    Marsha Marsha Marsha! Long time no see! Your questions:

    I need to know if it will work with Windows 10.
    I don't think so. Getting it to install is the first problem, and if you manage to get past that, getting it to run is the second. I have not owned a computer capable of running Shanghai Second Dynasty in years. I think I tried getting it to run on this Windows 10 machine, but no go. My friend Larry told me he keeps an old computer just to play the game on. I'm like, "why didn't I think of that."
    Anyway, if you figure out a Windows 10 procedure, I'd love to hear it.

    On another note, I am hearing about Richi Mah Jongg. I wonder if that is the same Japenese Mah Jongg that you play? Is that what they play in Europe? Is the Japenese mah jong on second dynasty the same as Richi mah jongg?
    Yes, yes, and yes!

    Spring WILL be here soon, followed shortly thereafter by the 2016 NMJL card! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 7, 2016


    They said I couldn't do that

    >From: "Joank...
    >Sent: Monday, March 7, 2016 2:40 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >In today's game I exchanged a (displayed) player's joker for the face tile (she had 2 six dots plus a joker on display and I replaced the joker with a six dot).
    >I then used that joker along with a seven craq already in my hand to pick up a discarded seven craq (for a display of 3 seven craqs).
    >Other players thought I could not make both of these plays during the same turn. I have not seen a hard & fast rule that says I have to pick up before I can replace a joker that is displayed. Please advise. Thanks you so much. Joan K

    Hi, Joan. You wrote:

    I exchanged a ... joker...
    >I then used that joker along with a seven craq already in my hand to pick up a discard...
    Hold it right there. This is wrong.

    Other players thought I could not make both of these plays during the same turn.
    Well, you can claim a discard and redeem a joker both during the same turn. But you can't do what you did.

    I have not seen a hard & fast rule that says I have to pick up before I can replace a joker that is displayed.
    Then you haven't read the 2012 newsletter from the League, or FAQ 19-M. You can link to the FAQs above left.


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    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 list of 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
    March 7, 2016


    Another passing at the NMJL

    Some of you may have phoned the League with mah-jongg questions and spoken to Marilyn Starr. Sadly, Marilyn has passed away. She had answered a newspaper want ad, about 25 years ago, and aced the mah-jongg knowledge test. She had found her dream job, and she worked there for the rest of her life. She died last Friday, surrounded by loved ones.
    The League's address:
    The National Mah Jongg League, Inc., 450 7th Avenue Suite 405, New York, NY 10123.
    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
    March 7, 2016


    Why and when?

    >From: Gary P
    >Sent: Thursday, March 3, 2016 8:45 AM
    >Subject: [No subject]
    >Why are you not allowed to use a joker in a pair or for a single tile and when did this ruling begin? I seem to remember that you could use jokers at one time when making a pair. Please help!

    Hi, Gary. You asked two questions:

    Why?
    I was not present at any League discussions when they decided to make this rule, so I cannot say definitively. But I imagine they did it because they wanted to balance the challenge. The game was probably too easy if jokers could be used in pairs and singles.

    When?
    1984. See FAQ 11-H. Apparently you've been playing American-style mah-jongg for more than 32 years! Didn't you keep your National Mah Jongg League cards? You could just look at them and find this information for yourself. 1984 is also when the rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy, was released. Do you have a copy?

    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
    3/3/2016


    Mis-hearing a discard and exposing erroneously

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Thursday, March 3, 2016 6:28 AM
    >Subject: hearing a tile incorrectly
    >If a player hears a tile incorrectly, exposes the tiles on her rack before realizing that what she heard was not thrown, is she dead?

    Yes. This is a perfect example of why every player MUST play with her eyes open, not just her ears!
    If you want to get confirmation from the National Mah Jongg League, their current address is in FAQ 19-BN (the League's address changed since the publication of the 2015 card).
    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
    3/3/2016


    Is the dealer's first discard verboten to call?

    >From: Cheryl M
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 2:50 PM
    >Subject: Dear Mister Mah Jongg!!!
    >I emailed you a while back with a question and you were very helpful! Mainly because it confirmed that what I did was legit and therefore . . . I really did Mah Jongg!!! *:> smug
    >SO! Now I (well, my group that I play with) have another question. We read somewhere that no one can pick up the first tile to display. In other words, when the dealer discards/plays the very first tile of the game . . . no one can call it as their own and therefore display it on their board. Is this true? That the first tile is "dead" to play?
    >If so . . . phooey.
    >Thank you so much, Mister/Master Mah Jongg!!!
    >Cheryl

    Welcome back, Cheryl. Your question:

    We read somewhere that no one can pick up the first tile to display. In other words, when the dealer discards/plays the very first tile of the game . . . no one can call it as their own and therefore display it on their board. Is this true? That the first tile is "dead" to play?
    What? That's crazy! Where did you read that? I don't remember what kind of mah-jongg you play, but in some variants, if a player can win on the dealer's first discard, that's a very high score. In all forms of mah-jongg, as far as I know, a player can certainly call the dealer's first discard. What kind of mah-jongg do you play, and what book(s) have you used?

    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
    March 2, 2016


    When is an exposure truly exposed?

    >From: IJWHF
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 2:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >When is an exposure officially made? One player says that the tiles were not completely down upon the top of the rack, although they touched it, and we saw them – she still had her hands under the tops of them. She feels they were not “exposed”. Is this correct? We realize the discard makes a difference as to whether or not it was placed on top of the rack.
    >Thanks for all your help via this website and your book to our numerous questions as we have grown in this great game.
    >Linda

    Hi, Linda. You wrote:

    When is an exposure officially made?
    I'm not going to answer that, because that is not your real question. I need to know the real question.*

    One player says that the tiles were not completely down upon the top of the rack, although they touched it, and we saw them – she still had her hands under the tops of them. She feels they were not “exposed”. Is this correct?
    What is your real question? By which I mean, what is the argument? Not "are they exposed or not," but what? Is the real question "can she change her mind," or is the real question "is she dead," or what? You aren't telling me the story behind your question, so I do not know what you are asking me.

    We realize the discard makes a difference as to whether or not it was placed on top of the rack.
    What? I don't have enough information. Please provide complete information with your question.

    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
    March 1, 2016

    * P.S. I can't think of any rule in which [whether or not an exposure has been fully made, or is just "in progress"] is a deciding factor. So, "fully exposed" is not an issue. An understanding of the incident behind this question is necessary. (I wasn't just being hardnosed or obstinate.) - Tom


    A discard was misnamed, causing a brouhaha

    >From: bklynirene
    >Sent: Monday, February 29, 2016 10:23 PM
    >Subject: Discarding a Tile
    >Dear Tom:
    > Here is the situation:
    > A player is discarding a tile and says "3 crak", but then throws out a flower. She states she accidentally threw out the flower which was on her rack next to the 3 crak. One player thought she should correctly state what she threw out -- i.e. the flower -- and then continue with the game. Another player thought that what was "stated" should trump what she threw out and replace the flower with the 3 crak. And still another player said she had made a simple mistake and should be able to take back the flower and throw out the 3 crak she had intended to throw.
    >So Tom, it's up to you -- what is the correct play?
    >Thank you so much,
    >Irene

    Hi, Irene. You wrote:

    A player is discarding a tile and says "3 crak", but then throws out a flower. ... One player thought she should correctly state what she threw out -- i.e. the flower -- and then continue with the game.
    Good for her. That player is up-to-date with the League's rules. See FAQ 19AY.

    Another player thought that what was "stated" should trump what she threw out and replace the flower with the 3 crak.
    That player does not read the yearly newsletters from the League; her assertion is definitively contradicted in the January 2014 newsletter.


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    And still another player said she had made a simple mistake and should be able to take back the flower and throw out the 3 crak she had intended to throw.
    That player is not saying anything different from what your second player says, and she too does not read the yearly newsletter. The League has repeatedly made it clear that actions constitute a commitment that cannot be taken back.

    So Tom, it's up to you
    No, it isn't. I am not the rule setter. The League leadership makes the rules, and the League has ruled on your question numerous times in print. I care about the printed rules, and I wish everybody 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
    March 1, 2016


    "Charleston, dummy," part 3

    Jackie, to respond to something you said in your second email (below):

    Looks like the rotation of bringing walls out should be clockwise while I was taught the dummy's wall was brought out last. Hope you can clear this up for me.
    The walls are served in the normal manner, regardless of empty seats. Think of the four walls as one stack of cards. Cards come off a stack from top to bottom - similarly, tiles come off a wall from dealer's wall to dealer's wall, going clockwise around the table.

    Whoever taught you the rules did not teach you the official rules; she taught you her table rules. 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
    Leap Year Day, 2016

    P.S. I would like to state for the record that I never meant to imply that Jackie was a dummy. Au contraire, I was just writing a clever-slash-funny title for the topic. - Tom, 3/1/16


    "Charleston, dummy," part 2

    >From: Jackie K
    >Sent: Monday, February 29, 2016 10:38 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >Cannot see anything that looks like an answer to my question and I was so excited to find out the answer. Maybe instead of making the dummy's wall two tier one would be better and then rebuild after the Charleston. Looks like the rotation of bringing walls out should be clockwise while I was taught the dummy's wall was brought out last. Hope you can clear this up for me.
    >Thank you for your mah-jongg question or comment! (^_^)

    Jackie, as I wrote in the notification email I sent you:
    "IF YOU DON'T SEE YOUR NEW ANSWER, THEN YOU NEED TO "REFRESH" OR "RELOAD" THE PAGE TO SEE THE MOST RECENT POSTS. Or use a different browser, like Safari, Chrome, IE, Firefox; one that hasn't been to my site before."
    The response is right there on the board.
    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
    Leap Year Day, 2016


    "Charleston, you dummy!"

    >From: Jackie K
    >Sent: Monday, February 29, 2016 9:36 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >When playing with 3players can player opposite the dummy pick three tiles from either the top or bottom row of the wall or does it just have to be from the top row of the wall?

    Hi, Jackie.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-AS. 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 list of 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!
    Make sure you read column 532! Oh - and read what the rulebook says on page 23.


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

    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
    Leap Year Day, 2016


    "One and three" doesn't work out the same with 3 players

    >From: "row019
    >Sent: Sunday, February 28, 2016 1:54 PM
    >Subject: Playing with three players
    >Hi Tom - couldn't find an answer to this. When selecting tiles before the Charleston, once everyone has twelve, it says East should pick tiles one and three. We found that this didn't work out the same when three were playing. So with three, East just takes one tile, then each takes one with East finally taking their 14th.
    > What is correct? thank you, Phyllis

    Phyllis, the only difference when the dealer does this in a 3-player game is that there are 2 tiles lying on the end of the wall without another tile on top of them (instead of just one). I never thought about it before, but if the intent is that the dealer get the tile that would have been hers anyway, then you're right - taking one and three doesn't "work out the same."
    The practice of taking one and three is traditional, going all the way back to the way the Chinese dealt when the game became popular in the 1920s. If the National Mah Jongg League ever intended for the dealer to take ony her "rightful" 14th tile in a 3-player game (rather than use the traditional 4-player practice), I've never seen it said so in print. You're safe to do it either way. No mah-jongg "police" will come down on you either way.
    But if you'd like to get the official word, you can write to the League. See FAQ 19BN for the current address (the League moved since the 2015 card was issued)..
    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
    February 28, 2016


    Scoring in Hong Kong, part 4

    >From: claire h
    >Sent: Sunday, February 28, 2016 6:54 AM
    >Subject: Hong Kong Mahjong
    >Hi Tom,
    >Playing Hong Kong Mahjong today & I got 7 pairs with my seat wind. Please can you tell me if I get an extra Fan for my own wind? As it is only a pair there was much debate among us. We use "The Great Mahjong Book" by Jelte Rep, I couldn't find anything in there one way or the other.
    >Best Wishes
    >Claire.

    Claire, look at page 138. It says "pung of own wind." The reason you can't find a mention of "pair of own wind" anywhere is that a pair, in and of itself, is worthless, and it would be silly to make a list of everything that is worthless.
    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
    February 28, 2016


    What if we get tied scores, part 4

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 10:04 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Re: tie scores in a tournament. In my first tournament, we had a tie for first place. I distributed the funds like golf tournaments do, the prize money for First and Second was split between the tied players and the third place funds went to the next highest player. To me this makes sense as the top three people are the two that tied and the next highest player.
    >In Jill's tournament her prizes are $150, $100 and $75. If Jill splits the top prize between the tied players that are highest they would each get $75, second place would get $100 and third $75. Which means the winners actually get less than the second place finisher and the same as the third place player. And you would be splitting money between four players instead of three.
    >It would be fairer to give the top two equal shares of first and second place prizes - splitting $250, each getting $125 and the person with the second highest score would get $75, the third place prize. Three highest getting three prizes.
    >Bee

    My apologies, Bee. I just found this email in my spam folder. I don't know why your email was filtered out like that.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom
    February 26, 2016


    I was hoping

    >From: Marge Shouldis <mshouldis123gmail.com>
    >Sent: Friday, February 26, 2016 7:00 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg teacher
    >I checked the list and no names were listed near Palm Coast FL. I was hoping you could direct me to a teacher or class near Palm Coast FL for me and a friend.
    >Thank you. Marge Shouldis

    Sorry to disappoint you, Marge. I simply do not have the ability to conjure up teachers out of thin air.
    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
    February 26, 2016

    P.S. I'm also posting this on the Find Players/Teachers bulletin board, in case someone who never told me she exists might see your post and will contact you. - Tom


    From: Dee Barshon <deebarshonmac.com>
    Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2016 11:51 AM
    Subject: mah jongg enquiry
    hi tom,
    looking for a mah jongg group for my mother-in-law. she was born in china. she has played mahjong most of he life & will be staying with us in west hollywood for 5 weeks. do let me know if you are able to help find a group. we live in west hollywood.
    thanking you.
    dee barshon

    Your announcement is posted on the Find Players Bulletin Board (you can link to the other boards above left). Also see FAQ 15 - Tom


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

    >From: "pdnor
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 9:45 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: when working on a closed hand can you pick up a discard for your final move if it gives you mahjong?

    Hello, pdnor.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-BD. 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 list of 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
    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
    February 25, 2016


    My cabinet, part 2

    >From: jon h
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 10:19 AM
    >Subject: Appreciation
    >Hi Tom, Just a quick email to thank you for your quick response and the information you have provided, it was as I thought, thank you once again for reasuring me.
    >Donna


    My cabinet and set

    >From: jon h
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 8:14 AM
    >Subject: Cabinet and set
    >Hi Tom,
    >Can you please, if possible give me some answers relating to my cabinet and set.
    >I would like to know if the cabinet and the tiles are roughly the same age and what age they are?
    >I believe the tile,s are some kind of plastic, they are quite heavy, very smooth feeling and do not look like the plastic we use today. there are 144 tiles with 4 blank ones and dice etc I have looked through your site which gives exceptional information, I am new to mah jong I purchased the cabinet and set yesterday from a charity shop as I really liked the cabinet, can you also tell me if the front slide cabinets also contained plastic tiles as well as bone or ivory, was this for the British export market?
    >Thank you for your help
    >Donna

    Hi Donna. Your questions:

    I would like to know if the cabinet and the tiles are roughly the same age and what age they are?
    The tiles are definitely of modern origin (within the past 20 years or so). I have a set of similar tiles; I bought it about 20 years ago and believe it was made in Taiwan (my tiles came in a vinyl-like snap-top package, not a wooden box). Your box might be of modern origin or it might be as much as 90 years old, but it's hard to tell from photos. More likely, the box is also of modern origin (intentionally made to look like 90-year-old boxes). I don't have enough clues to be certain. But look at your pink paper thing (mostly concealed under the box front) - a typical Chinglish play manual of modern origin, made for inclusion in modern for-export sets. My Taiwan set had the same pink booklet as yours.

    I believe the tile,s are some kind of plastic, they are quite heavy, very smooth feeling and do not look like the plastic we use today.
    They are definitely plastic, definitely like the plastic we use today.

    can you also tell me if the front slide cabinets also contained plastic tiles as well as bone or ivory
    I guess you're asking about 1920s sets which were bone and bamboo tiles. (And I guess you're couching your first question in another way, again to find out if your tiles and box were originally packaged together.) I have occasionally seen plastic tiles in wood drawer-type boxes but only on a case-by-case (pun unintended) basis can any sort of judgment be made as to whether there's any Frankensteining going on.

    was this for the British export market?
    You mean your set? Export, yes. British specifically, I doubt 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
    February 24, 2016


    Must a player speak when claiming a discard?

    >From: Gary P
    >Sent: Monday, February 22, 2016 7:33 AM
    >Subject: [No subject]
    >When a player discards a tile and the next player in line to play wants to "call" that tile for exposure, can that player simply pick up the tile because it is her turn or must she say "call" or "I want that" or anything else? I have been told that the player can just pick up that tile. without calling it, and expose it on her rack. Please help!

    Hi, Gary.
    You didn't say which mah-jongg variant (which set of rules) you are asking about, but you referred repeatedly to other players as though they are female - and you referred to racks. So I am going out on a limb and assuming you are asking about American (National Mah Jongg League) rules.

    The rules are written rather loosely; on page 14 of the rulebook, the League refers to the player wanting a discard as "claimant" and the act of taking the discard as a "claim." The League does not specifically say the claimant must speak the claim aloud, but it is implied by the word "claim" that the claimant must verbalize the call. (How else would you make your "claim" known, if not aloud?) Having played American rules on both coasts and in tournaments, I can say with confidence that the standard accepted practice is to speak every claim aloud. It's the courteous thing to do, and it's expected (especially in a tournament). I have played with players who occasionally just take the discard, but only when it's their turn (the way some Asian players do), and it doesn't bother me since I have played all over the world and I always keep my eyes on the entire table.

    I assume that the reason for your question is that you are playing with one or more old-timers, and at least one of them claims a discard without speaking. When you play with them, you need to keep your eyes open - look at the whole table, not just your own tiles.


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

    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
    2/22/2016

    ADDENDUM, 3/1/16: I was going through the most recent January newsletters and noticed that the League HAS ruled on this question in writing. I don't have the newsletters in front of me at the moment. It may have been the 2015 or 2014 newsletter. The League says yes, a player MUST speak her claim aloud. - Tom


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.


    Looking for players

    From: "TERI2030
    Sent: Sunday, February 21, 2016 7:13 PM
    Subject: Find Players/Teachers
    Location (city and state or zip code): The mah-jongg variant I play is:
    American Mahjongg.

    Teri,
    People aren't going to contact you to play mah-jongg with them unless they know you live nearby. Nobody can tell if you live nearby, though, because you didn't say where you live. We only need a city name, and a state or zip code. Resend and your post will go online so people can find you.
    May the players be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    Got any leads on mah-jongg community in [someplace, USA]?

    >From: Andrew
    >Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 12:13 PM
    >Subject: Mahjong in Palm Springs
    >Hi Tom,
    >Greetings from SF. I grew up with my mom playing MJ and I never paid much attention to it and then my wife started playing a few years ago and then I started a little over a year ago and got hooked. We have been teaching a lot of friends here in SF and some others who have been playing for a long time.
    >Anyway, I like your book and website and have been pointing people to it as well.
    >Had a question if you had any leads on Mahjong in Palm Springs. My wife and I will be out there at the end of March for spring break and wanted to hook up with the community out there and maybe shop around and see if there are some cool sets out there. My sister has a place out there and lots of cool shops.
    >Hope the jokers are with you
    >Cheers,
    >Andrew
    >ps- here's a set I got from a friends grandmother a while back. Pretty cool
    >http://keelerkom.com/mahjongset/

    Hi, Andrew. You wrote:

    if you had any leads on Mahjong in [anyplace, USA]
    No. I'm sorry, but I don't have any leads on anything or anybody, anywhere, other than what's in the Find Players bulletin board and FAQ 15. You can link to the boards and FAQs above left. I did teach a group in Coachella Valley seven years ago (http://www.sloperama.com/mahjongg/column403a.htm), but I don't have the time or energy or desire to try to dig up old contact information. I recommend you try the Find Players board and FAQ 15. Maybe try inquiring at senior centers, country clubs, etc. 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
    February 18, 2016


    Quints questions (2015 NMJL card)

    >From: Geraldine R
    >Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 11:56 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: in the quints 2015 card 1123 11111 11111can't the set be 1223 22222 22222 or 1233 33333 33333 also be used. Does the run have to be 3 suits. Also on the same card quints - NNNNN DDDD 11111 can the dragons and the numbers be the same suit.

    Hi, Geraldine. Did the devil make you ask me these questions?
    Just kidding. If you don't get the reference, then you're too young.
    Welcome to my website. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question:
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 16. You can link to the FAQs above left. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about mah-jongg are found in the FAQs. 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
    February 18, 2016


    When is a tile "racked"?

    >From: Karen G
    >Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 9:48 AM
    >Subject: Re: calling
    >When is a tile considered racked so another player can not call. If the other player picks a tile but has it in her hand a tiny bit above the rack but her hand is on the tile and the tile is not on the rack, can another player still call?
    >Kajinburger

    Hi, Kajinburger. Your questions:

    When is a tile considered racked so another player can not call.
    As I wrote in "Where's the click, part 8" on July 17, 2015 (see http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive35.htm), people do get in arguments about this, so I made this illustration, below. Which position is racked: A, B, C, or D?

    In my opinion (and note: I do not make the rules), the only inarguable (therefore correct) answer is D. Consider that the only reason this even matters is that "racking" is one of the things that closes the window of opportunity on the live discard.
    A. If the next player in line places the tile atop the rack to close the window of opportunity, isn't she just trying to shorten the window? And isn't shortening the window inherently an aggressive move? "There, now you can't call the discard anymore. Nyaah!"
    B. This tile is on its way to being racked (it's not racked yet). The picker is in the act of sliding it into place; the window is not closed on the live discard, since the picker has not yet put the tile to rest on the rack.
    C. Ditto.
    D. Nobody could dispute that putting the tile here firmly shuts the window of opportunity on the fomerly live discard. At positions A, B, and C, there is room for disagreement. And isn't it desirable to remove room for disagreement?
    NOTE: I still say that it's unkind and aggressive to hurriedly try to shut the window of opportunity as quickly as possible, so the best practice is to pause a beat before reaching and picking from the wall. That gives other players a fair chance at calling the discard. If you like, look at the tile and see if you want it before racking - or discarding. There are other ways the window of opportunity can be closed. The purpose of picking is not to screw the other players; it's to add a tile to the hand. Maybe it's something you want, and maybe it isn't. If you know it isn't, you don't need to rack it; you can just discard it. So what if somebody calls for the live discard before you do?

    If the other player picks a tile but has it in her hand a tiny bit above the rack but her hand is on the tile and the tile is not on the rack, can another player still call?
    Yes.

    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
    February 18, 2016


    What if we get tied scores, part 3
    >From: Jill
    >Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 9:35 AM
    >Subject: Re: tie question
    >Thank you. This is what I'm most comfortable with.
    >Jill


    Does she have to announce that her hand is jokerless?

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 7:37 AM
    >Subject: Does a player have to announce that her mah jongg was made "jokerless" in order to be paid double?

    Yes, Jeanne. A player must tell the other players how much they owe her, and she must explain any doubles claimed. If she asks all players to give her 25 cents, the other players do not have to correct her - they can pay her what she asked for. If she asks all players to give her a dollar, and they do not agree, she'll have to make a corrected claim. I suppose I'm going on too long here; I was just trying to express the principle in general terms that cover the NMJL's rule about what a winner gets paid, based on what she asks for. Let's get the info direct from the League, as issued in yearly newsletters/bulletins:

    A player must announce the value of her own hand... If another player calls her attention to the fact that her hand is Jokerless and should be paid double, she is only entitled to the limit she has called for.

    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 wholeheartedly recommend that every player have a copy of the official rulebook, and buy her card direct from the League so she receives the yearly newsletter, to be informed of rule clarifications and changes.


    The official rulebook, and a newsletter/bulletin.
    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    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
    February 18, 2016


    What if we get tied scores, part 2

    An afterthought about my previous reply, below. I think a tournament organizer, if giving out gift certificate awards of monetary value, should arrange for those awards to be incremented so as to allow the possibility of tie scores. For instance, Jill has a total of $325 to give to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. If the awards are in denominations of $50 and $25, then when a tie score happens, the awards can be adjusted. If there are two 1st place winners, both can get $100, then the 2nd place can get $75 and the 3rd place can get $50. Or if there are two 2nd place winners, 1st place can get $100, the 2nd place winners can get $75 each, and 3rd place can get $50, and there's a $25 left over for a 4th place winner. (Or the extra $25 could go to the 1st place winner.)
    I think players need to be told at the beginning that the prizes would have to be adjusted in the case of a tie. People can get angry if their expectations are unfulfilled.
    - Tom
    February 18, 2016


    What if we get tied scores in our tournament?

    >From: Jill
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 2:49 PM
    >Subject: tie question
    >Tom,
    >Please guide us. We are having our first tournament Saturday. Awards are: 1st place $150, 2nd $100, 3rd $75. In the event of a tie, how should the awards be divided up? We've discussed deciding who had the best day...highest hand, no walls, most wins...etc. But, to me, this is arbitrary. We want to make a fair and reasonable decision.
    >Jill L

    I would think you would need to give an equal-value award to the tied players. But what do I know? I'm not a tournament organizer.
    Maybe a tournament organizer will see your question and offer his or her two cents. Good luck with this one, Jill!
    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
    February 17, 2016


    Who made it, what's it made of, how old is it

    >From: Joseph P G
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 5:00 AM
    >Subject: FAQ 7a
    >At the very beginning of your description of "Different Types of Sets", you display a photo of an American Mah Jong set in a case I recently purchased what seems to be an identical set off Ebay The owner could only tell me that it has been in her family for many years, belong to her grandmother, who had lived in Detroit. It contains 5 heavy plastic racks as pictured. The tiles are stored in three heavy white plastic boxes. Can you tell me who manufactured the set in the photo, the approximate age and what the tiles are made from.
    >Appreciate any info you can share. Wonderfully informative site Plan to share it with my Mah Jong group.
    >Janet

    Hi, Janet. I assume you're referring to this photo of one of my sets:

    Your questions:

    who manufactured the set
    I don't know. Modern manufacturers of mah-jongg sets usually do not self-identify. My set came with no information as to the name of the manufacturer.

    the approximate age
    Mine is maybe 15 years old. I don't have enough clues about yours. See FAQ 7G. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    what the tiles are made from.
    Plastic. Read FAQ 7C and FAQ 7C3. Please always check the FAQs 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
    February 17, 2016


    Scoring in Hong Kong, part 3

    >From: claire h
    >Sent: Sunday, February 14, 2016 1:37 PM
    >Subject: Hong Kong Mahjong
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks again for your message.
    >I think we are doing it right then, to include all the different Fan & add them together as an overall total. Yes I think you are right the Fan do differ depending on which book you read, the book we learnt Hong Kong from was the Jelte Rep one & then I found a another web site mahjong.wikidot.com & that had a very long extensive list of hands & Fan which was a little bit more generous than the Jelte Rep book on the Fan & had loads more combinations so we have stuck with that for our house rules. I was just concerned that we were adding up to many Fan from each hand but it seems that if they are there they are there to be added.
    >I also got the number of Fan wrong in my last message for the "Four in one" hand which I said was worth 1 Fan when in actual fact it is worth 2 Fan in our scoring rules. It is listed in the Jelte Rep book as "little four in one" on pg: 139 & only scores 1 Fan in there. In our scoring purity is 9 Fan, clear hand is 6 Fan & the straight or dragon as you mentioned was 3 Fan, so although they vary a little there is not much in it really.
    >Cheers for helping clear this all up it is great to have a place like this to come to to ask questions, much appreciated.
    >Best Wishes
    >Claire

    You're welcome, Claire.
    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
    February 15, 2016


    Fishing in Hong Kong, part 2

    >From: claire h
    >Sent: Sunday, February 14, 2016 9:28 AM
    >Subject: Hong Kong Mahjong New Style
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I think we first got the one to mahjong announcement rule form British Mahjong, this was the first version we learnt. We got the rules from a web site www.mahjongbritishrules.com/ Once we had discovered Hong Kong however we switched as we love the Fan system & being able to collect all the wonderful combinations of beautiful hands special or otherwise.
    >The book that we use is by a Dutch chap called Jelte Rep, The Great Mahjong Book. It is a great little book really thorough & interesting. There is also History & Lore as well as play included, makes a fun read.
    >I would really like to ditch the announcing one to mahjong but I will have to chat to my mates about this more. I do have another question for you though. This morning I got an amazing hand which when we added up all the Fan we thought it might be worth 14 Fan! So I had a pure hand of Bamboo's a straight from 1-9 plus a pung of fives. So I got 9 Fan for the purity, 3 Fan for the straight, 1 Fan for four in one (hand contains four of one tile across chow & pung) Oh & one for self draw. However are we adding this up right? or should I have only got the 9 Fan for the pure hand? We have been adding every part of our score together but today it almost seemed obscene how much I got! I was thrilled with my 14 Fan needless to say.
    >Best Wishes
    >Claire

    Hi, Claire.
    Okay, I get it now. I see that Thompson & Maloney say that a player "should" announce when she is fishing (calling, or waiting, or ready, or "one to mahjong," as you say), and that Jelte Rep says that a player is not allowed to say mah-jongg unless s/he has previously declared that s/he is fishing. So, that is the rule in British rules. But it isn't in New Style.
    By the way, Jelte is the brother of Martin Rep, who created the MahjongNews website, and who hosted the 2005 Open European Mah-Jongg Championship, which I attended. I was not free to assist with the English translation of Jelte's book, so I recommended a friend, who did assist with it.

    Now to your new question:

    I had a pure hand of Bamboo's a straight from 1-9 plus a pung of fives. So I got 9 Fan for the purity, 3 Fan for the straight, 1 Fan for four in one (hand contains four of one tile across chow & pung) Oh & one for self draw. However are we adding this up right? or should I have only got the 9 Fan for the pure hand?

    You still didn't tell me what book you use as your New Style guide, so I have to check Perlmen & Chan, Lo, and Tjoa.
    Perlmen & Chan say 9 fan for "clear hand" and 3 fan for the "dragon" (straight), but "four in one" is 6 fan, not just 1. And 1 fan for self-draw.
    Lo says a dragon (straight) is worth 7 fan, and pure is worth 40 fan, and "four into two" (you called it "four in one") is 3 fan. I didn't see a fan for self-pick in her chapter. Her scores are so far from Perlmen & Chan that I may have been incorrect in saying that her chapter, "The Shanghai Game," describes New Style.
    Tjoa's book is hard to follow due to creative terminology and indirect referencing.
    Self-pick # (10) - 1 fan
    Pure Dragon # (33) - 3 fan
    Pure Breed # (63) - 10 fan
    Quad in Two (#15) - 1 fan

    So let's ignore Lo (I was apparently wrong to think that she was describing New Style), and you see that the answer to your question is, "it depends on what book you use as your guide."

    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
    Valentine's Day, 2016


    Ready in Hong Kong

    >From: claire h
    >Sent: Saturday, February 13, 2016 4:52 AM
    >Subject: hong kong new style
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have been playing Hong Kong new style for nearly 2 years now. Recently I have been reading books on strategy to improve my game. Can you please tell me if in the Hong Kong new style version of the game you have to announce 1 from mahjong when you have a ready hand?
    >Many Thanks
    >Claire

    Hi, Claire.
    I checked three books: Perlmen & Chan's The Chinese Game of Mahjong, Amy Lo's The Book of Mahjong, and Tong Seng Tjoa's Mah Jong Unlimited.* The first two did not make mention of a ready or "reach" declaration, but I did find this in Perlmen & Chan:
    "Players often agree among themselves on special patterns or idiosyncratic ways of playing known to themselves only."
    I did find a mention in the third book. Tong Seng Tjoa says,
    "Unlike some other authors, I do not endorse alerting other players of one's readiness to mah jong."
    So, there is no universally accepted rule in Hong Kong New Style that a player must announce when s/he is ready. Now that I think on it, I don't know if one is required to announce readiness in any variant that permits a ready call - it's an option in Japanese riichi majan, not a requirement.
    As with any other form of mah-jongg, when you join a new group, you have to ask what rules they use. And when a new player joins your group, you have to tell him or her what rules you use.
    *If you use a different book than the ones I checked, please tell me the author and title.
    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
    February 13, 2016


    How does Bouquet scoring work?

    >From: Glenda R
    >Sent: Friday, February 12, 2016 12:08 PM
    >Subject: Chinese Mah Jongg Scoring Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am hoping you could clarify a Chinese Mah Jongg scoring question:
    > When a player has all four seasons of one color, they get times 8 their score. Would the player also get times 2 for their own season within the four seasons of one color?
    >That would seem like double-counting to me, but our Mah Jongg group wants to do this correctly.
    >Thanks,
    >Glenda R
    >Houston Joy Luck Club

    Hi, Glenda.
    The double for Own Flower/Season is already built into the Bouquet score. (Yes, it would be double-dipping to claim both.) It's inevitable to have your own flower if you have a Bouquet, so no extra double.
    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
    February 12, 2016


    How does Travel Mah Jongg work?

    >From: "mag50
    >Sent: Friday, February 12, 2016 10:00 AM
    >Subject: Questions
    >Have you ever heard of people playing "on the road" friends and I are going on a long bus trip this summer and were joking that we would like to play to help pass the time away. Just for the heck of it I googled travel Mah Jongg and there were several travel sets. Just trying to picture the logistics of this ? Am I nuts or, in your experience, would there be a way to do it ?
    >Also, we have been playing for just about a year and consider ourselves still relatively new and still learning every time we play. I often share your columns and advice with my group, especially WWYP..
    >Thank you for doing this, I am going to make a contribution today, wish it could be more
    >Thanks again,
    >Margaret:-)

    >From: "mag50
    >Sent: Friday, February 12, 2016 10:25 AM
    >Subject: donation ?
    >I had a bad experience using my credit card on line. Is there a way I could contribute via check, via mail (the old fashion way ) ?
    >Thanks,:-)
    >Margaret

    Hi, Margaret.
    If the bus doesn't have rows that face one another, I don't think there'd be a good way to play mah-jongg on the bus. Maybe with kards, but you'd have to deal with the fact that the players sit in twos beside one another, facing in the direction of travel. And I don't see a reasonable workaround for that kind of seating arrangement, while on the bus.
    I appreciate the offer of a donation. I'll email you my snailmail address.
    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
    February 12, 2016


    Round rubber mat, part 2

    >From: Susy Weaver
    >Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2016 8:39 AM
    >Subject: Re: Round rubber mat
    >Thank you so much.


    Round rubber mat

    >From: Susy Weaver <susysusy@sbcglobal.net>
    >Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2016 8:13 AM
    >Subject: Round rubber mat
    >I love my square rubber mat. I need a large round one now. I've been searching a long time. Any ideas on how to find one?
    >Thanks, Susy Weaver

    Hi, Susy. You can try the vendors listed in FAQ 4a. I'm posting this on the Accessories Wanted board. Maybe someone will contact you with the information you seek.
    Good luck! May the round rubber mat 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
    February 11, 2016


    Do you know of any teachers, part 2

    >From: Audrey B
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 8:06 AM
    >Subject: Re: ISO mah Jong teacher in Washington DC!
    >Hi Tom - I located a teacher via your instructions, but have not gotten any reply to my email to her. Do you have current contact info for Carla Bicks, listed on your website as teaching in DC?
    >Thanks,
    >Audrey

    No. What you see is what I have. I hope you find a teacher. Maybe Carla will still reply to you (it's only been a few days). Good luck! - Tom


    Frequently Asked Question about Quints #2

    >From: Audrey R
    >Sent: Monday, February 8, 2016 2:33 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My Mah-Jongg question or comment is: When playing the QUINTS- do the pair have to match the quints or can you take any of the 4 numbers and make the pair- our player Mah Jongged on
    >6788 88J8Bams JJJJ(8888)Dots
    >Should it have been 6678 6666 6666
    >The rules say pr and quints match- is it the first 2 pr as shown on the card or any of the first 4 numbers to make the pr?
    >Thank you
    >Audrey
    >From the E-Mail desk of
    >Audrey R

    Hi, Audrey.
    Welcome to my website. This question has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 16. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQs 16 & 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
    February 8, 2016


    Is this considered self-pick?

    >From: Faye M
    >Sent: Sunday, February 7, 2016 9:28 PM
    >Subject: Column 628 - self pick MJ question related to this column
    >I have a tile that I can exchange with my opponents exposed joker, but I am holding it until I'm ready for MJ to prevent my opponent from having a jokerless hand.
    >I was playing odd numbers in 2 suits: bams and cracks. My tiles are:
    >111 333 in bams; 333 555 in cracks; and a 9 crack that I can switch for an exposed joker.
    >My other opponent discarded a 5 crack that I picked for my Kong. Then, I exchanged the 9 crack that I've had in my rack to the exposed joker to make my Kong for 3 Bams for MJ. Will this be considered self pick? I'm assuming it's not self pick, since I would not have MJ if I did not get the 5 crack. Please advise.

    Hi, Faye. Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-BO ("When someone calls a discard and redeems a joker and wins, which tile gave her mah-jongg?"). 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 list of 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! You could also read FAQ 19-AN, if you need further information than that in FAQ 19-BO.
    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
    February 7, 2016


    Tell me something about my cloisonné box

    >From: Arnie M
    >Sent: Saturday, February 6, 2016 10:36 AM
    >Subject: RE: Cloisonné
    >Here is another pic of the “box” whose visage may illustrate the demeanor of others after they read your answers and don’t appreciate your sense of humor. I enjoy and thrive on it. I sent the wrong picture in the first email / CRS Moment (Can’t remember s—t). Cutting to the chase, do you know where this Mah Jong Box is from or who manufactured it? have you ever seen one like it? The tiles are French Ivory (Pyralin or Celluloid), I believe.
    >Thanks
    >Arnie

    Hi, Arnie. Your Q's:

    Here is another pic of the “box” whose visage may illustrate the demeanor of others after they read your answers and don’t appreciate your sense of humor.
    Heh.

    I enjoy and thrive on it.
    I'm glad.

    do you know where this Mah Jong Box is from or who manufactured it?
    I do not. Sorry. Perhaps Carol Harper (CHarli) might, or Johni Levene.

    have you ever seen one like it?
    Never, until now! I imagine it's highly desirable and collectible.

    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
    February 6, 2016


    Tell me anything about my cloisonné thing

    >From: Arnie M
    >Sent: Saturday, February 6, 2016 9:21 AM
    >Subject: Cloisonné
    >Good Morning Tom (PST Noted) If you have a minute in your busy schedule, any information you can pass along re: enclosed attachment would be greatly appreciated!
    >Cheers
    >Arnie M

    It looks like a box, and this side of it looks pretty. What kind of information are you looking for? I don't know what to do with requests for "any information" (as I wrote in FAQ 7P). Standing by for a question I can answer.
    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
    February 6, 2016


    What if?

    >From: "Friedrhonda
    >Sent: Saturday, February 6, 2016 7:37 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg
    >Dear Tom,
    >What if a player calls a discarded tile and inadvertently picks up the wrong tile and places it in their exposure and it is not noticed before the completion of the player's turn.
    >Also, what if a player exposes and mistakenly exposes an incorrect tile from their rack: for example (6669) and it is not noticed until after the player discards.
    >I'm thinking that in both cases the player would be dead, but my group wants a expert to decide.
    >Thank you,
    >Rhonda F

    Hi, Rhoda. Your Q's:

    What if a player calls a discarded tile and inadvertently picks up the wrong tile and places it in their exposure and it is not noticed before the completion of the player's turn.
    Call her dead. It's an unrecoverable error.

    Also, what if a player exposes and mistakenly exposes an incorrect tile from their rack: for example (6669) and it is not noticed until after the player discards.
    Same exact thing. It's an erroneous exposure, and she is dead.

    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
    February 6, 2016


    Do you know of any teachers in DC?

    >From: Audrey B
    >Sent: Saturday, February 6, 2016 7:03 AM
    >Subject: ISO mah Jong teacher in Washington DC!
    >Hi Tom - You were recommended as possibly having some info helpful to my inquiry: I'm looking to take group lessons in the Washington DC area...do you teach there or have any recommendations for teachers in the DC area?
    >Thank you,
    >Audrey

    >Begin forwarded message:
    >From: Katie
    >Date: February 2, 2016 at 12:05:08 PM EST
    >To: Audrey B
    >Subject: Re: ISO mah Jong teacher in Washington DC!
    >Hello Audrey,
    >Thank you for contacting me, however I'm local to the greater NYC area and can't help you down in DC. Try contacting Tom Sloper at www.sloperama.com and perhaps he can steer you in the desired direction.
    >Best regards,
    >Katie W

    >On Feb 2, 2016, at 9:59 AM, Audrey B wrote:
    >Hi there - I have a friend in Scarsdale who recommended you, but your website doesn't seem to include my area! I'm looking to start group lessons in the Washington DC area (actually to give a friend for her 50th) ...do you teach here or have any recommendations for this area?
    >Thanking you in advance,
    >Audrey B
    >Sent from my iPhone

    Audrey, please check FAQ 4A and the Find Players/Teachers bulletin board, and you can also read FAQ 15. You can link to the FAQs and boards above left. Please always check the FAQs before asking me a mah-jongg 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
    February 6, 2016

    P.S. I had to look it up to find out that "ISO" means "in search of."


    Can I use zero as an even number on the NMJL card?

    From: Steve & Barbara T
    Sent: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 11:21 AM
    Subject: Soaps
    Since soaps are used as zeros, can they be used also as an even number, when a line calls for any even number?

    Nice try, Steve and Barbara. No.
    Firstly, as I wrote in FAQ 19BH, It's really only when you see a "0" on the card that the League intends for anyone to use a white dragon as zero. 
    Secondly, what makes you think zero is an even number? Um, never mind. I looked it up, and zero is even. Don't read this line! Anyway, just don't be coming up with creative uses of zero that will just hurt people's brains and start arguments and spoil the harmony!
    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
    February 3, 2016


    Making my own tiles

    >From: Joseph S
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 6:26 PM
    >Subject: Making homemade mj tiles
    >Hey Tom,
    >Do you have any advice for making homemade mahjong tiles?
    >My fiancee's father made us little wooden blocks for this purpose, and now that we have them, we're at a loss for how to start. Maybe you or any of the readers have some ideas? I would imagine one would have to paint the whole tile to so that the rings on the wood wouldn't be recognized by the players. Also, I can't write Chinese that well.
    >Joe

    Hi, Joe. You wrote:

    Do you have any advice for making homemade mahjong tiles?
    Nope.

    Maybe ... any of the readers have some ideas?
    Maybe. Have you seen if there's anything in FAQ seven oh? Not saying there is, but you might check there.

    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
    Groundhog Day, 2016


    Donation 1/27, part 2

    >From: Karla A
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 9:27 PM
    >Subject: RE: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Karla A
    >You’re very welcome, Tom!
    >I’m a teacher here in San Francisco and very much appreciate your site and all the work you put in …
    >PLUS
    >The tiles actually Were with me, as you wished me, when I placed 3rd for the first time in the very next tournament I played after contributing to you!
    >Hhmmm… you may be my good luck charm, I may have to contribute before every tourney I enter!
    >J
    >Bams and Cracks!
    >Karla A

    Well, that would be nice for my Paypal account, and although for its sake I shouldn't discourage you, I claim no influence on your tournament luck. That said:
    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
    Groundhog Day, 2016


    Would be wonderful to see a revised edition of RDWW

    >From: Mary Edgar
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 3:12 PM
    >Subject: MJ teacher listing
    >Hi, Tom,
    >I'd like to be added to your teacher listing please.
    >I'm in CO, Lakewood City/Denver area; I teach American MJ, my name is Mary Edgar, my email is maryedgar11@comcast.net. I teach Friday afternoons at the Clements Community Center in Lakewood; 1 course is 4 sessons; class size: min-3, max-8. Prior signup is required.
    >Please know that I not only recommend your website in all my classes but recommend your RDWW book over any other. It would be wonderful to see a new, revised edition of your terrific book.
    >Thank a bunch,
    >Mary

    >From: Mary Edgar via PayPal
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 2:01 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Mary Edgar (maryedgar11@comcast.net)
    >PayPal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Mary Edgar (maryedgar11@comcast.net). You can view the transaction details online.
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Mary Edgar
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Hi, Mary.
    Thank you very much for the donation. Your teacher listing is up now. When you go to FAQ 4A, you might need to refresh your browser or use a different browser to see your new listing. And I note another vote for a revised edition. One of these years I'll ask my agent about how we might do that.
    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
    Groundhog Day, 2016


    Can I redeem more than one joker in a turn? 

    >From: Beth B
    >Sent: Monday, February 1, 2016 5:14 PM
    >Subject: question about rules
    >Dear Tom,
    >two different groups that i play with have differing rule opinion...will you please be so kind as to clarify.
    >can two jokers be used in the same hand?
    >example...
    >four flowers were exposed...two of which were jokers.
    >i had two flowers in my hand...when i tried to exchange the flowers for jokers i was told i could only use one exchange at a time...
    >my other...older group said it is legal.
    >please help...i did try to find the answer in the rule book but couldn't find it.
    >sincerely,
    >beth b

    Hi, Beth. You wrote:

    can two jokers be used in the same hand?
    Sure. You can use as many as eight jokers in your hand.

    four flowers were exposed...two of which were jokers.
    >i had two flowers in my hand...when i tried to exchange the flowers for jokers i was told i could only use one exchange at a time...
    Where DO people get these ideas?

    i did try to find the answer in the rule book but couldn't find it.
    You won't find that in the rulebook, because there's no such rule! But if you pull out your January 2015 bulletin, you will find that your friend is totally wrong.


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    But if you don't have the 2015 newsletter, you can check for confirmation in FAQ 19N. You can link to the FAQs above left. Please always check the FAQs, too.

    my other...older group said it is legal.
    Good for 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
    February 1, 2016


    What if everybody wants to blind pass?

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Monday, February 1, 2016 9:46 AM
    >Subject: Blind pass on first left
    >What happens if everyone wants to steal on the first left pass? How is this accomplished?

    Hi, Jeanne. It's not called "stealing." It doesn't make any logical sense to call it "stealing" - see column 353. As for the answer to your question, read column 534.
    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
    February 1, 2016

    P.S. The League has never addressed (to the best of my knowledge) the question of how to handle the extremely unlikely and rare eventuality of every player wanting to blind pass. So what I have said about it is not official - it is just my best guess, my own idea about how it could be handled. - Tom


    Did the League change the 3-player rules?

    >From: JoAnn S
    >Sent: Sunday, January 31, 2016 8:51 AM
    >Subject: 3 players
    >I was told they recently changed the rule when playing with 3, that you now can do
    >a charleston. Is that correct?
    >JoAnn

    No. You should go back to the person who told you that and read her what it says in the January 2016 newsletter from the League.


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    It says:

      3-Handed Mah Jong...
      Four walls are built... Tiles are dealt only to the three players. There is no Charleston; game begins with East discarding a tile.

    That's just a restatement of the rules as they've existed for the past 30 years and more. Whoever told you otherwise is misinformed.
    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
    January 31, 2016


    Column #648

    >From: Kate S
    >Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2016 1:00 PM
    >Subject: Question on your January 2016 column
    >Dear Tom,
    >First of all - I am in love with your b/w kitty on your shoulder. We have a similar big guy and he is one of the best kitties ever. Ok, now onto Mah Jongg.
    >I am a fairly new player and am finding your column and website quite helpful.
    >I column 648 the player who is "east" has tiles that look as if they may lead to the 2015 hand that includes winds. In your illustration the three tiles, excluding the soap/white dragon, appear to be in different suits. I thought that the 2,1, and 5 all needed to be the same suit. Are you holding all in the hope you will complete this in one of the three suits, or is one suit not required.
    >Would you clarify for me?
    >Ps. Writing about Mah Jongg is hard! If I have over or under-explained my question, please forgive me.
    >Many thanks.
    >Kate S

    Hi, Kate. Yes, I was keeping mixed suit tiles to see if one of the suits might emerge as the dominant one. A 2015 is always a single-suit collection of single tiles.
    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
    January 30, 2016

    P.S. Sadly, Bob (my tuxedo cat) died many years ago. Having also lived with a Holstein cat (John, who also died years ago) and compared notes with another owner of a Holstein cat (namely, my mom) as well as other tuxedo cat owners, I have come to the conclusion that tuxedo cats are the best, smartest, most adventurous, and most loving type of cat, by far. FWIW.


    Question about redeeming, part 2

    >From: iva g
    >Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2016 1:16 PM
    >Subject: Joker Exchange
    >Dear Mr. Sloper:
    >I believe the confusion was on my part and how I was interpreting the statement “ Only call the discarded tile if it completes the run in your hand”. So - I incorrectly interpreted this to mean that the next player could call the discarded tile and replace the exposure (joker) on her rack. But - that is not correct. You can only call the tile if it completes a NEW set - not an existing exposed set on your rack. Got it.
    >Thank you for posting the question - and thank you for clarifications,
    >Sincerely,
    >Iva

    Hi, Iva. I still don't understand where I am supposed to have ever said, “Only call the discarded tile if it completes the run in your hand.” I do not believe I ever said that, anywhere. Firstly, I have never used the word "run" to mean "set," and secondly, if I said what you say I said (with other words) somewhere, I still want to know where it is so I can address it! But I am glad you have clarity on your question now.
    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
    January 30, 2016


    Awesome website, part 2

    >From: Beth B
    >Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2016 12:29 PM
    >Subject: Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Equipro (bethb
    >Thank you Tom...I just started playing in December and thanks to you I'll be attending my first tourny on Feb 7th in Ranch Palos Verdes...couldn't have done it without you!
    >All the best!
    >Beth

    Cool!
    Tom


    Question about redeeming a joker

    >From: iva g
    >Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2016 8:26 AM
    >Subject: Fwd: Some Insights into the GAME. JOKER EXCHANGE
    >Tom: Good morning. I am asking this questions regarding JOKER EXCHANGE. I have read the FAQ’s and the references in your book “RDWW”, however there still is conflicting statements.
    >So - here is my question:
    >I have exposed 3 tiles, one of which is a joker on a previous turn. It is now my turn. The player on my left has discarded a natural tile that is in my exposure. Can I call the discarded tile and exchange the joker on my exposure and then discard. and now use the joker in my hand? Or do I have to use that called tile for a new complete set in my hand and expose the run?
    >Thanks so much. Iva
    >
    >Begin forwarded message:
    >
    >From: iva g
    >Date: January 30, 2016 at 11:00:51 AM EST
    >To: Annie P
    >Subject: Fwd: Some Insights into the GAME. JOKER EXCHANGE
    >I sent this to Marion. Now I am curious to see which is the definitive answer. It seems that the Sloper book has two interpretations - so let’s see what the expert says.
    >Hugs,
    >Iva M
    >
    >Begin forwarded message:
    >
    >From: iva g
    >Date: January 30, 2016 at 10:59:40 AM EST
    >To: mjacknow
    >Subject: Re: Some Insights into the GAME. JOKER EXCHANGE
    >A2: Once a redeemable tile has been discarded, it can only be taken for mah-jongg or to create a new set for exposure. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker.
    >So, Marion, based on this statement, I don’t believe you can CALL the discarded tile and replace the joker in your already exposed set. Do you agree? Both the previous rule that I quoted and this one seem to be conflicted.

    >So - I need your guidance.
    >Iva

    Hi, Iva.
    I'm going to endeavor to make sure there's no confusion about this. But I am very concerned about having conflicting statements in my book (or on my site), and I very much want to understand exactly what I wrote that causes such confusion, so I can issue a correction. You wrote:

    I have exposed 3 tiles, one of which is a joker on a previous turn. It is now my turn. The player on my left has discarded a natural tile that is in my exposure. Can I call the discarded tile and exchange the joker on my exposure and then discard.
    No, you may not. I said as much in the following places:

  • FAQ 19G, which you quoted in one of your emails.
  • Page 92 of RDWW.
  • The RDWW errata. Go to the RDWW page, download the errata, and see the entry for page 58, rule 86.h.

    Or do I have to use that called tile for a new complete set in my hand and expose the run?
    If you call a discarded redeemable tile, you have to have another use for it - NOT to redeem a joker with it. If you call any discard, you know that you are required to expose (either a set, or "run" as you incorrectly call it*, or the whole hand).

    * See column 463. http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/column463.htm

    Once a redeemable tile has been discarded, it can only be taken for mah-jongg or to create a new set for exposure. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker.
    That's from FAQ 19G.

    It seems that the Sloper book has two interpretations ... Both the previous rule that I quoted and this one seem to be conflicted.
    Please tell me what this is all about!! I WANT TO FIX IT if something I wrote somewhere contradicts what I've said above.


    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
    January 30, 2016


    Table rules and how to mark indices

    >From: Joseph S
    >Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2016 3:19 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hey Mr. Sloper! It's been a while since I've asked a question. I really enjoy the site and it's helped me learn a lot about my favorite game, so I thank you. I also appreciate what you did with the Shanghai games. I still play my second dynasty game and I listen to the soundtrack from the game all the time!
    >You have a FAQ for table rules, but what *are* the most popular table rules/ house rules? Which do you think are the most fun to play with? I plan on introducing mahjong to some more friends and would like to offer some fun variation for them.
    >Joe

    >From: Joseph S
    >Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2016 3:44 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hey, one more question. I have a set of mahjong tiles my neighbors got for me. However, there are no western indices though, so I end up having to teach my friends the chinese characters for one through nine. One friend always just discarded his craks!
    >What sort of writing material can I use on tiles to number the cracks such that they dont rub off? My tiles are certainly plastic, if that matters. Do you think it's a good idea to write indices on all the tiles so that we don't know who has craks but seeing who flips their tiles?
    >I checked the FAQ but didn't find anything about this.
    >I almost bought a new set but figured such a solution is cheaper for the moment. A new set wouldn't smell like a plastic factory though, which would be good.
    >Joe

    Hi, Joe. Long time no see. You wrote:

    I still play my second dynasty game
    Really? Your computer must be really old. I haven't owned a computer capable of playing Shanghai Second Dynasty in years.

    and I listen to the soundtrack from the game all the time!
    That's an excellent idea. I'm going to check into that!

    what *are* the most popular table rules/ house rules?
    It depends on which variant you play. That FAQ was primarily written for the benefit of players of the American game, which is a hotbed of disregard for the official way of doing things. Since you have a set without indices, I presume you play an Asian variant. Most Asian table rules center around the way of organizing discards, or the scoring and manner of payment, the way flowers are used, and the special hands allowed.

    Which do you think are the most fun to play with? I plan on introducing mahjong to some more friends and would like to offer some fun variation for them.
    I recommend you start by teaching the proper rules. The game is "fun" by default without needing any tweaking. I don't recommend introducing variations unless they get bored or are unhappy with something about the rules.

    What sort of writing material can I use on tiles to number the cracks such that they dont rub off?
    I suppose one could use a fine-point Sharpie, but those are not without disadvantages. You could do an internet search for "fine-point indelible ink" and see what you turn up.

    Do you think it's a good idea to write indices on all the tiles
    Personally, I would only put indices on the craks and winds. And the one bams. And maybe the flowers, if you play an Asian variant with flowers. But some beginners may need indices on all the tiles. Another solution would be stickers. There's information about stickers in FAQs 7S and 7T.

    so that we don't know who has craks but seeing who flips their tiles?
    Only highly experienced players would be observant enough to make that an issue.

    A new set wouldn't smell like a plastic factory though, which would be good.
    Actually, new sets can stink, depending on what type of plastic you buy. Many new Chinese sets stink to high heaven. There's some information about tile odor in FAQ seven oh, if you have a smelly set.

    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
    January 30, 2016


    Awesome website

    >From: Equipro via PayPal
    >Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2016 5:24 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Equipro (bethb
    >PayPal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Equipro (bethb). You can view the transaction details online.
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Equipro
    >Message: Thank you so much for your awesome website!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Beth!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    January 30, 2016


    Can you tell me, part 2

    >From: Suzanne L
    >Sent: Friday, January 29, 2016 5:25 PM
    >Subject: Re: [No Subject]
    >I am sorry I was mot more clear with my question. I now know, after other resoonses they are lucite, and hand carved, called Royal Depth Control.
    >I could not find anything about lucite under your plastics section

    Hi, Suzanne.
    I'm not trying to be dense, but if you still have a question for me, I still don't know what I can help you with. I knew your tiles were plastic. You know that they're Lucite (you say) and hand carved and were made by Royal Depth Control (which is a lot more than I knew). I don't know what you're looking for now. If you want to know more about Lucite, wouldn't an internet search be the best way to go? My site isn't a resource for plastics. And I'm not an expert on manufacturers or manufacturing processes or even materials. I honestly don't know what you're looking for (if you still have a question), or why you need the information, or whether I can be of any help.
    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
    January 29, 2016

    P.S. I may be out of line, but I don't care very much about what plastic a set of tiles is made of. I don't think it matters very much. Some old plastics may have a tendency to disintegrate over time, so in the case of those old plastics, it's important (but there's nothing one can do if they start disintegrating). And some new Chinese tiles make a terrible stink, so in the case of those tiles, the plastic composition has some significance. Other than those examples, I don't know why people get so insistent on knowing exactly what plastic their tiles are made of! - Tom


    Can you tell me?

    >From: Suzanne L
    >Sent: Friday, January 29, 2016 3:15 PM
    >Subject: [No Subject]
    >Can you tell me what these tiles are made of?

    Yes, I can, but you can also read FAQ 7C and FAQ 7C3 to make the determination yourself.
    You can link to the FAQs above left. Please always check the FAQs before asking me a question.
    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
    January 29, 2016

    P.S. They're made of plastic.


    Resolve this dispute for us (Majiang Competition Rules)

    >From: Ken A
    >Cc: Shawn J
    >Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2016 4:34 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Is it possible to receive both the 2 points for "Tile Hog" and the four points for "Last (Case) Tile" in one successful Mahjong hand? For example, suppose I have one concealed 1B,2B,3B chow, one melded 1B,2B,3B chow and declare Hu upon obtaining (either from the wall or by calling a discard) a 3B to complete a pair with the other 3B I have waiting in my hand. I contend that I should receive the 4 points for declaring Hu by receiving what is clearly the last 3B available, and I should also receive the 2 points for having gathered all the 3Bs in my hand. My friend claims that since the other three 3Bs were not visible in either the discards or exposures (melds) already on display at the time of my Hu, I can't claim the 4 points. He also contends that it is "double dipping" to take points for both Tile Hog and Last Tile. We'll eagerly await your judgment.
    >Ken A

    Hi, Ken.
    Your friend wins this one. I have learned of rule changes and clarifications since the publication of my book in 2007, and I have collected them into an errata file (available for free download at http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/rdww.htm). In it, it says,

      P. 154 - Fan 58.b. should read as follows: "Winning on the 'case tile' (the last or fourth tile of its particular kind) when all players can plainly see, before the player wins on it, that the other three of its kind are present among the visible discards and/or melds."

    So your example is not a matter of whether or not Tile Hog can be combined with Case Tile. You didn't have Case Tile.
    As for the second matter - of whether it would be double dipping if you actually do have Case Tile and Tile Hog - note that "double dipping" is not a prohibited score. See FAQ 22 (FAQs are above left), section 10.1.5. (These are also in my book.)

  • 10.1.5.1. Implied inclusions - is it unavoidable to have Tile Hog if you have Case Tile? No. Is it unavoidable to have Case Tile if you have Tile Hog? No. (And this is the combined score prohibition that comes closest to double dipping.)
  • 10.1.5.2. Is this a matter of separating and reorganizing? No.
  • 10.1.5.3. Is it a matter of identical patterns? No.
  • 10.1.5.4. and 10.1.5.5. also do not apply here.

    So, since the combination doesn't violate one of those five principles, it's allowable - but you have to actually have both patterns.
    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
    January 28, 2016


    Do I have to verbalize a joker exchange on my own rack?

    >From: Susan B
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 7:43 PM
    >Subject: Question
    >Good evening,
    >I have read all the answers and have a question that does not seem to be covered.
    >When you exchange a joker from your rack do you have to announce it to the other three players?
    >I know you need to ask the other players when you want to redeem a joker from their racks, just not sure if you have to say you are doing it on your own rack
    >Thanks for you help
    >Susan B

    Hi, Susan.
    The rulebook does not say anything about verbalizing a joker exchange. But it is customary and expected that every significant action be verbalized, and that includes redeeming a joker on your own rack. That said, in my group, we often said something very rudimentary, like, "oh boy," or nothing - but my players are observant. They watch the table at all times. If you're playing with people who are still heads-down focused on their own tiles and missing everything that goes on around them, then you certainly ought to verbalize the exchange.
    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
    January 27, 2016


    What is that symbol on all the craks?

    >from: franklin c
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 4:32 PM
    >Subject: English Translation?
    >On modern American sets, what is the English translation of the same
    >Japanese symbol (in red) that appears on all Crack tiles below the
    >number designation? Thank You....

    Hello, Franklin.
    You're referring to the Chinese character (not Japanese, although the Japanese also use it) at the bottom of every crak:

    or

    It means "ten thousand." (They both mean the same thing, ten thousand - one is more traditional, and one is simplified.) So the tile on the left reads "5 fifty thousand," and the one on the right reads "6 sixty thousand" (reading the Arabic numeral and the Chinese numerals).
    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
    January 27, 2016


    Can I call a single for mah-jongg?

    >From: Cheryl M
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 1:14 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg question!
    >Hi, Tom! I was going for the very first hand on the 2015 card:
    >NNNN EW SSSS 2015
    >All I needed to Mah Jongg was the "W"--the West Wind. Another player discarded the "W" tile. Can I pick it up to Mah Jongg?
    >Gratefully,
    >Cheryl M
    >P. S. Please tell me I'm right; I've already taken their money. [smileyface]

    Cheryl, read the back of the card. Your answer is in the upper section of the middle pane. It says, "Any tile, except a joker, may be called for 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
    January 27, 2016


    Donation 1/27

    >From: Karla A via PayPal
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 3:01 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Karla A
    >PayPal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Karla A.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Karla!
    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
    January 27, 2016


    What happens when tiles are coming off the wrong wall?

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 11:54 AM
    >Subject: mah jongg
    >In the course of playing of the hand, it is noticed that the wrong wall is pushed out. What happens?

    Jeanne, the League issued a rule on this in their 2007 newsletter. League says the hand is void and you have to throw in all tiles and redeal. Unless someone has made mah-jongg (in which case the win is honored).
    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
    January 26, 2016


    If you have no jokers, should you go for pairs?

    >From: Barbara L
    >Cc: Barbara L
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 11:01 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jong question
    >Dear Tom,
    >I have been playing Mah Jong for about four years and was wondering how. You can win the game if you do not have jokers. Should you go for pairs?
    >Thank you
    >Barbara L

    You should certainly consider S&P if you have no jokers, Barbara. That doesn't mean you should exclude the rest of the card (exception: I would exclude Quints).
    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
    January 26, 2016


    Putting the tile on the table in the course of redeeming a joker

    >From: "debbie001
    >Sent: Friday, January 22, 2016 12:03 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong Question About Joker Exchange
    >Tom,
    >My questions is: When exchanging a joker, the player places the tile on the table in front of the rack rather than hand placing it on the rack and taking the joker. Is that considered a discard?
    >Thank You
    >Debbie B

    Hi, Debbie.
    It kind of depends on what the exchanger says when placing the tile - if she's saying, "I'll have that joker, please," then any reasonable person would understand that she's making an exchange, and not discarding the tile, and she should be permitted to make the exchange.
    But if she just puts the tile down and waits for the joker to be handed to her, then that's easily misconstrued. I myself would ask the erstwhile exchanger to say the name of the tile she just discarded, since the rule is that when a tile is named or placed on the table, it is discarded.
    It's easy to see, is it not, that placing the tile on the table is a bad practice either way? It opens the door for a misunderstanding.
    As I wrote in FAQ 19-CF, the best way of redeeming a joker is to hold your tile in the palm of your hand, extend it to the player with the joker, and ask her for the joker. Certainly not to place it on the table and thereby cause people to think that you are discarding a redeemable tile.
    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
    January 22, 2016


    One player claims a discard for chow, and one claims it for a pung. What now?

    >From: Darlene W
    >Sent: Monday, January 18, 2016 8:42 PM
    >Subject: Ping vs chow
    >Hi Tom,
    >Your list was very informative and I hope I am not being redundant. Here's the problem: one player who is out of turn wishes to call a discarded tile for a ping. The player whose turn it is wants the discarded tile for a chow. To whom does the tile go? Thanks in advance.

    Hi, Darlene. I presume the list you're referring to is FAQ 20 (the Asian mah-jongg rules). Somehow or other, you missed 20-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
    January 18, 2016


    When can the stop Charleston be call?

    >From: Sheila
    >Sent: Monday, January 18, 2016 7:02 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >When can the STOP Charleston be call? If two players already passed and no one questioned to continue or not, can the Charleston still be stopped?
    >Sheila

    Hi, Sheila. I assume that what the two players have already passed is their second left (that you already know this part of the answer to your question). But I can't assume that nobody has yet picked up the pass, because you didn't say. And that's what's important here. It can be stopped as long as nobody has yet picked up and put the second left into her hand. See page 12 of the rulebook.


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

    (By the way, I did not write the official rulebook, I don't work for the League, and I don't get anything out of it when someone buys it - except maybe fewer emailed questions, and reduced sales of my own book.)
    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
    January 2, 2016


    Her hand contained the wrong number of tiles during the Charleston

    >From: "martham
    >Sent: Sunday, January 17, 2016 6:12 PM
    >Subject: question
    >After 5 exchanges in the Charleston, a player figured out she only had 12 tiles. As we weren't sure what to do, we just allowed her to pick up another tile, which we assume she did not pick up her last tile. Did we do correctly, or should she have been dead? Thank you for all of your help.

    Hi, Martha. Since you don't have a copy of the official rulebook, let me check the rule for you.


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

    According to rule 9 on page 18, you did correctly, IF she was sitting to the left of East.
    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
    January 17, 2016


    Heavenly Hand, part 3

    >From: John and Robyn M
    >Sent: Sunday, January 17, 2016 3:45 PM
    >Subject: Re: Heavenly Hand
    >Many thanks Tom.
    >Maybe that will teach me to read more of my book.
    >Cheers
    >Robyn

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


    Thanks, and please update my teacher listing

    >From: Julie Azous
    >Sent: Friday, January 15, 2016 9:53 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg teacher thanks you
    >Hi Tom,
    >Happy Healthy 2016. I am a Mah Jongg teacher (Julie Azous) here in NYC and I currently have a listing on your site. I now have a website www.masteringmahjongg.com can you add that in the details for me so that potential students can click on. I see that some of the other teachers have one.
    >By the way I love your site and appreciate everything you do for the game. I would like to make a donation to you..do you also accept checks?
    >Please feel free to check out my website and also let me know that you did in fact receive this email.
    >All the best,
    >Julie Azous

    Hi Julie,
    Your listing in FAQ 4A now includes your website link. I'll email you my address so you can send me that check! (^_^)
    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
    January 15, 2016


    3p game, part 2

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2016 10:11 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Regarding 3 person game, calling oneself dead. You stated that the lady who called herself dead was not actually dead, I assume because she had valid exposures. But under the circumstances listed by the questioner wouldn't she be dead? She called MJ then exposed the 3 two bams and 3 four bams, then realized she did not have MJ. As she exposed two exposures at the same time, she cannot take one or both back, wouldn't she be dead?
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee.
    You're right, I totally missed that the two exposures were made during a declaration of mah-jongg. She is dead in that circumstance. It's unclear if that is an exception to the "don't declare yourself dead" rule; but I think a player has no choice in that circumstance. In fact, as I think this through, this might also be an exception to the rule about improperly exposed jokers, since her only error was making multiple exposures when she does not have mah-jongg. Referring back to rule 3(b) on page 16 of the official rulebook, I suppose she does have to return the exposures to her rack, but may not continue playing.

    I owe an apology to Lynn P, since I'd misread the question and since the official rulebook does not contain a clear statement of how this circumstance should be ruled. I'm talking about the second player who went dead.

    As for the third player, she still does not collect from the other players. FAQ 19BW describes the circumstance in which a sole survivor collects. FAQ 19BW describes a four-player game, but the principle applies also to a three-player game. In Lynn's example, the second player's death did not cascade from the first player's. So the game is void, as I said yesterday.

    Kudos to you, Bee. Sharp eye! 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
    January 15, 2016


    3P game: one had too many tiles, one illegally* called herself dead. What does the sole survivor get?

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2016 1:50 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Playing American MJ with 3 people today: The group of 3 had one player who had 14 tiles so she was dead; the other player had called MJ , exposed three 2 bams and three 4 bams and then said she didn’t have MJ so she was dead. The 3rd lady said that they both owed her which they said is wrong. I don’t remember what amount #3 said she was owed. I said they should stop the game and nobody owed anyone anything. We play for a $5 purse. #3 asked if I was sure but since I was in another room playing at another table I said I was sure. She still doubted me so I am at my computer but can’t remember how to find the column in which this information was discussed. Thank you for help in finding the column/Q&A to verify my information. Those darn tiles and jokers have not been with me the last few times I have played MJ so I guess I have to practice some more!! Happy New Year, Lynn P

    Hi, Lynn. Let's see what you wrote:

    one player who had 14 tiles so she was dead
    If it wasn't her turn, yes - she's dead. Who called her dead?

    the other player had called MJ , exposed three 2 bams and three 4 bams
    Perfectly valid exposures...*

    and then said she didn’t have MJ so she was dead.
    What? She can't do that! Look at the rules. No player may call herself dead. Besides, she wasn't dead!

    The 3rd lady said that they both owed her which they said is wrong.
    Your group needs to have the official rulebook!


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

    The sole surviving player collects only under very specific circumstances. Certainly a player calling herself dead illegally and incorrectly is not one of those circumstances.

    I am at my computer but can’t remember how to find the column in which this information was discussed.
    Why are you looking at the columns, instead of FAQ 19?? Don't look in columns, and don't look in this Q&A board - look in the FAQs. Specifically, read FAQ 19AC. Read FAQ 19BW. And get the official rulebook! Happy Year of the Monkey 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
    January 14, 2016

    * This Q&A was edited due to a later Q&A, above (these conversations are displayed with the most recent at the top).
    In my initial reading of the question, I missed an important part (underlined above); the fact that the player in question had made her exposures in the course of a mahj declaration was missed. This led to an inaccurate response. This Q&A was conducted in writing. Imagine if this same sort of miscommunication happened in a phone conversation that was not recorded, and you see how easy it is to get a wrong answer if questions are answered over the phone. Writing is better - at least then the mistake can be uncovered and rectified later! - Tom


    There's no parenthetical on Consec. #1, so...?

    >From: Zoria B
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2016 5:55 PM
    >Subject: Consecutive Run 2015 Card
    >My friends and I are confused about the top line on Consecutive run. Do you have to have these exact numbers for the consecutive run? Could you start with 22 versus 11 in the run? I could not find the answer.
    >Thanks
    >Zoria

    Hi, Zoria. Please read FAQ 19AJ, "What if there's no parenthetical?" (you can link to the FAQs above left). Since the hand does not come with a parenthetical saying otherwise, you have to make the hand one of the two ways shown.
    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
    January 13, 2016


    Heavenly Hand, part 2

    >From: John and Robyn M
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2016 1:42 PM
    >Subject: Re: Heavenly Hand
    >Hi Tom
    >Many thanks. We are using rules in The Game of Mah Jong Illustrated written by Patricia A Thompson and Betty Maloney. So if you do get Mahjong dealt do you have to discard and say you are fishing or can you just say Mah Jong and win the game?
    >Regards
    >Robyn

    Robyn, thanks for telling me not only what variant you play (it's British/Australian, AKA Western) but even what book you use as your mah-jongg bible! Turn to page 30 and look for the word "Heaven" - you'll see that T&M call it "Heaven's Grace" instead of "Heavenly Hand."
    Of course you win INSTANTLY when this very rare thing happens to you! Of course you do NOT have to destroy your hand and say you're fishing.
    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
    January 13, 2016


    Heavenly Hand

    >From: John and Robyn M
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2016 1:07 AM
    >Subject: Heavenly Hand
    >Tom
    >I was wondering what happens if East finds he/she has Mahjong after the tiles are dealt?
    >Is this called a Heavenly Hand? I assume you score normally, but is there a bonus given?
    >Many thanks
    >Robyn

    Yes, that's "Heavenly Hand." How it's scored depends on what mah-jongg variant you play. Which rules do you use in your games? You didn't say.
    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
    January 13, 2016


    THANKS!!!!

    >From: Jane
    >Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2016 8:49 PM
    >Subject: THANKS!!!!
    >Hi Tom! I just wanted to drop you a note and tell how much your Maj-Jongg site has helped me understand the game. I was just introduced to the American version of Mah-Jongg. They explained the rules and gave me a card, which I found very confusing and restrictive (what did I know?). We played several times and I was very frustrated. I decided it was time to “get some tips”. Then I found your site!! Just the small amount I time I spent tonight reading I feel like I can now go and play more confidently. I know more about what, why and how to proceed (I hope). J
    >Again I just wanted to let you know how very much I appreciate the time you have taken to do this to help all of us. I will be back more to read all of your Strategy Column and FAQ’s. Wishing for the tiles to be with me!! J
    >Peace and Love,
    >Jane

    Peace out, flower child! (^_^)Y


    Returning dead exposures, part 7

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2016 10:17 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >More on returning jokers to the rack. Thinking about the different scenarios and what seems reasonable and fair. Say a player has two exposures two 2 Bams with a joker and two 4 Bams with a joker, the players intent is to play Consecutive #1, but her ones or fives go dead. She then sees she can make Evens #6 (but doesn't realize it is concealed) and exposes three 6 Bams. Her hand is now dead but should the whole hand be placed on the front of the rack making the jokers unavailable? That doesn't make sense to me. The twos and fours were part of a valid hand. Another scenario - she knows her ones and fives went out and knows the Evens hand is concealed and deliberately exposes three 6 Bams. Under the interpretation of the rule that all tiles be placed on the front of the rack she now has deliberately made those jokers unavailable to her opponents. That doesn't make sense either.
    >I think that the only way to resolve is to ask the league for an interpretation of their rule. And hopefully they think it through and do not give conflicting answers as so many times they do.
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee. I got your email just after I posted Harriett's, below. I really like the examples you gave, and what you said. It agrees with what I concluded, that sentence 2 should still apply. It's consistent with the bulletins.
    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
    January 10, 2016


    Returning dead exposures, part 6

    >From: Harriett E
    >Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2016 9:27 AM
    >Subject: Re: One more question
    >Hi Tom...
    > I noticed your comment pertaining to sentence 3 [of rule 3(b), below] about when would it ever apply to an incorrect exposure for Mahj in the case of a concealed hand, you said when would that ever happen? It could happen when the sequence in the concealed hand is incorrect. For example having three tiles one group when it should be four and four in another group when it should be three. Or an improper use of a joker. There are many things that could go wrong in a Mahj (concealed or otherwise) that could be an error. Therefore, in that situation, all the tiles were exposed at once and would have to be returned to the rack. But this situation isn't a Mahj declaration.
    >Thanks for looking into this further. I know there can be different ways of looking at these rules but I really do think Bee and I are correct.
    >I know you'll you will come up with an answer that will satisfy us all.
    >Cheers, Harriett

    Good morning, Harriett. I don't expect to please all of the people all of the time, and I don't know if I can please all of the people this time, either. You wrote:

    It could happen when the sequence in the concealed hand is incorrect. For example having three tiles one group when it should be four and four in another group when it should be three. Or an improper use of a joker. ... Therefore, in that situation, all the tiles were exposed at once and would have to be returned to the rack.
    I suppose the hand would have to be definitively recognizable by all as a specific hand on the card, despite the error(s). What I mean is, depending on the error, the hand might look more like something that simply is not on the current card at all. And it would also have to be unrepairable by simply reshuffling (especially shifting a joker's placement in the hand). If the player was intending to make a concealed hand but erred in the group composition (substitution of a pung for a kong or vice versa, as you suggested), then if it can be argued that it's now a hand that is not on the card, then sentence 2 would apply, and not sentence 3.

    But this situation isn't a Mahj declaration.
    Right. It seems to me that sentence 2 (and the rule from the bulletins) should apply to a concealed hand when portions of it were exposed. I'm still cogitating. And I welcome other readers' thoughts.

    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
    January 10, 2016


    Returning dead exposures, part 5

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Saturday, January 9, 2016 3:32 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I believe your last answer to Bonnie regarding returning tiles to the rack is incorrect for the the situation she described. You said that the rule book states: "... a concealed hand that has been incorrectly exposed for a declaration of Mah Jongg must be returned to the rack, [the player is dead], and nothing can be redeemed from the concealed hand." The key words are "exposed for a declaration of Mah Jongg." This rule only applies to a concealed hand being declared for MJ. In Bonnie's described situation, she said that the second exposure indicated a concealed hand making the hand dead. She did not say the player was declaring MJ. Therefore, the rule does not apply in this instance. I believe this situation is similar to any other where only the jokers in the the exposure causing the hand to go dead are not redeemable but the first exposure's jokers remain redeemable.
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee.
    When Bonnie and Harriett came to me with this question, I had to turn to the official rulebook. To understand the League's stance on this, we have to refer to League publications only - not my book, not Sandberg's book, not my FAQs and not any other unofficial source. These are the only sources available from the League, aside from spoken answers and written letters which are not publicly available:


    Left to Right: the 1984 rulebook; the current rulebook; an annual bulletin

    When I examined rule 3(b) in the rulebook (in the section entitled "Mah Jongg In Error"), I saw something there that I had not really noticed before. That part about concealed hands; I hadn't really given it scrutiny before. Let's see the wording of the entire rule, from the current rulebook. I've inserted words in brackets for clarity.

      (b) When a player declares Mah Jongg in error and has been playing an exposed hand, the Jokers which were in the correctly called exposure before the error, may be redeemed by any of the other players with a like tile, when it is their turn. However, at the point the hand becomes dead, the part of the hand that was in error is returned to [the sloping front of] the rack, and no Jokers may be redeemed by any of the other players. But a concealed hand that has been incorrectly exposed for a declaration of Mah Jongg must be returned to [the sloping front of] the rack, the errant declarer stops picking and discarding, and nothing can be redeemed from the concealed hand.

    I also referred to the old 1984 rulebook, and saw only minor differences (a word in all caps, some words not present, maybe the absence of a comma or two). For the purpose of the present discussion, we have to consider: does this rule 3(b) even apply since we are not talking about Mah Jongg in error, but rather just some exposures made during the course of play? Sentence #2, when you read it by itself, though, is not just about Mah Jongg in error. It's about a hand going dead at a point in time (not necessarily the point of mahj declaration). The fact that the rule resides in the section entitled Mah Jongg In Error doesn't necessarily mean that everything in the rule applies only when mahj has been declared in error - does it? For ease of reading, let's number the sentences:

      1. When a player declares Mah Jongg in error and has been playing an exposed hand, the Jokers which were in the correctly called exposure before the error, may be redeemed by any of the other players with a like tile, when it is their turn.
      2. However, at the point the hand becomes dead, the part of the hand that was in error is returned to [the sloping front of] the rack, and no Jokers may be redeemed by any of the other players.
      3. But a concealed hand that has been incorrectly exposed for a declaration of Mah Jongg must be returned to [the sloping front of] the rack, the errant declarer stops picking and discarding, and nothing can be redeemed from the concealed hand.

    Sentence 1 is about mahj in error with an exposed hand. Sentence 2 is about a hand being declared dead due to one or more erroneous exposures. Sentence 3 says it's about mahj in error with a concealed hand. So now the question must be asked, can sentence 2 be applicable when mahj has not been declared? We can look through the rules to try to find one that governs the situation of a hand going dead (without a mahj declaration), and the only one we can find is rule 14 on page 19 (under the section "Rules and Penalties"):

      14. If an incorrect exposure is made, the hand may be declared dead by any of the other three players. Bettor must remain silent. If the exposure goes unnoticed, the erring player does not have to announce it and continues to play. Of course, Mah Jongg cannot be made.

    That doesn't tell us what we want to know. The rulebook, it must be said, has many holes, which the League has been filling in the yearly bulletin. From the 2015 bulletin:

      Q: Can you redeem a joker from a "dead hand"?
      A: YES... you may exchange jokers from exposures that were made BEFORE the hand went "dead".

    The 2014 bulletin went a little farther:

      Q: Can you redeem a joker from a "dead hand"?
      A: YES... you may exchange jokers from any and all valid exposures that were made BEFORE the hand went "dead".

    That goes along with sentence 2 in rule 3(b), indicating that sentence 2 may apply beyond cases in which mahj has been declared. Let's dig further into "the point the hand becomes dead, [and] the part of the hand that was in error." From the 2014 bulletin:

      Q: When is a hand considered "dead?"
      A. A hand is considered "dead" if the player has too many or too few tiles....incorrect exposure....Mah Jongg in error OR if a player is playing a hand NOT on the current card.

    And now we have to ask, what does "incorrect exposure" mean, other than "a hand not on the current card"? Would that include an exposure that reveals that a hand is supposed to be concealed? I believe so. Would that include an exposure that reveals that the hand can't be won because a necessary pair is dead on the table? Would that constitute an "incorrect exposure"? I don't think so. It's unfortunate that the term "incorrect exposure" is not fully defined by the League.

    One other question: when can sentence 3 of rule 3(b) ever be applied? Someone would have to make an exposure, I suppose, and then declare mah-jongg at a later point. Rule 3(b) sentence 3 says that in that case, the entire hand (presumably including the first ambiguous exposure) must be returned to the sloping front of the rack. But is that consistent with what the League has said in the bulletins?

    When a player's second or third exposure is incorrect (nonexistent hand, or concealed hand), the player should be declared dead - the incorrect exposure should be returned to the sloping front of the rack, and the first ambiguous exposure(s) should remain on the top of the rack. But going by sentence 3, ambiguous exposures should be returned to the front of the rack (and are no longer available for joker redemption) if the player subsequently declares mah-jongg and the hand is supposed to be concealed.

    It's a fine point of the rules that I had not previously given sufficient scrutiny. And I think I need to sleep on it some more.

    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
    January 9, 2016


    Donation

    >From: Colin B via PayPal
    >Sent: Saturday, January 9, 2016 8:39 AM
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    Thank you, Colin. Wow, the year is starting off with a bang, isn't it? Happy new year, everyone!


    Donation

    >From: Susan T via PayPal
    >Sent: Friday, January 8, 2016 11:14 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Susan T
    >PayPal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Susan T. You can view the transaction details online.
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    >Message: To Tom Sloper. Your web site is amazingly thorough, and I love that you include photos. I'm so glad that you choose to provide such a great resource to answer our Mah-Jongg queries. Thanks.
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    Thank you very much, Susan, and happy Year of the Monkey!

    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
    January 9, 2016


    They complain, part 3 (solved)

    >From: Rebecca R M
    >Sent: Friday, January 8, 2016 8:15 PM
    >Subject: Re: flashing on website
    >Dear Tom,
    >Delayed response - had to play mah jongg :) My, my you are a very considerate person. Kindness is so rare these days, making it all that more precious. I can see the difference in the banner and think it is much less distracting. But, hello senior citizens, it pays to explore. Had I clicked on the mobil user option, I would have never even passed on the ladies’ comments - totally solved the problem. I have ordered your book and added it to my teaching tools for the ladies. I understand that the NMJL book covers the rules, but I have found that many people hear/learn things differently so I like to have many ways of explaining/demonstrating the same rules in the hopes that one will set off the light bulb of understanding. I have supplied books, dvds, cards, and sets - all available to take home to study - to try to help the learning process. Your website adds a valuable tool to this repertoire and is as handy as a players cell phone!
    >With Appreciation,
    >Rebecca

    Hi, Rebecca.
    So the problem was with FAQ 19? And clicking (if using a mouse) or tapping (if using a mobile phone or tablet) on the mobile version fixed the problem? Good, I'm glad. Hope your ladies will be happier now.
    Best regards! 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
    January 8, 2016


    Hong Kong ivory

    >From: Allan Weitz
    >Sent: Friday, January 8, 2016 6:37 PM
    >Subject: Re: Cleaning/Restoring Tip
    >Tom
    >Thank you for including my tip ["How I make stickers," Jan. 6, below]. In the same Q&A column, on December 17, John T sent several photos and asked if the tiles were ivory or not.
    >Your evaluation is correct. The tiles are in fact an improved version of French ivory known as Hong Kong ivory. They are still celluloid, and at the time, very expensive. To add to their value, the tiles made of Hong Kong ivory were carved by highly skilled artists as opposed to artisans who carved the regular bone/bamboo tiles. The Hong Kong ivory sets are as rare as ivory sets and usually came in splendid boxes. I have only one set as opposed to seven ivory sets. To illustrate the difference between Hong Kong ivory and ivory, view the tiles under strong light and magnification. The Hong Kong tiles will have straight even lines on the top and bottom. The ends will have wavy lines which correspond with the top and bottom lines. (French ivory tiles have straight corresponding lines on the ends and top and bottom.) If John T is interested in selling his set, I am interested in buying.
    >May the tiles be with you.
    >Allan Weitz

    Hi, Allan. You wrote:

    In the same Q&A column, on December 17, John T sent several photos and asked if the tiles were ivory or not.
    Oh, you mean below (here on this Q&A board), John T's question of December 17, 2015.

    The tiles are in fact an improved version of French ivory known as Hong Kong ivory. They are still celluloid, and at the time, very expensive.
    Really. Interesting. I'd never heard of Hong Kong ivory before. Googling it just now, it seems that the phrase "Hong Kong ivory" is extremely rare on the internet.

    To add to their value, the tiles made of Hong Kong ivory were carved by highly skilled artists as opposed to artisans who carved the regular bone/bamboo tiles.
    Yes, I saw that John's tiles were very exquisitely carved.

    The Hong Kong ivory sets are as rare as ivory sets and usually came in splendid boxes. I have only one set as opposed to seven ivory sets. To illustrate the difference between Hong Kong ivory and ivory, view the tiles under strong light and magnification. The Hong Kong tiles will have straight even lines on the top and bottom. The ends will have wavy lines which correspond with the top and bottom lines. (French ivory tiles have straight corresponding lines on the ends and top and bottom.)
    I'm clear on the difference between ivory and celluloid. But I confess that I'm not clear on the difference between "Hong Kong ivory" (celluloid) and so-called "French ivory" (celluloid). Is it just a matter of the quality of the carving?

    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
    January 8, 2016


    You gave the wrong address for the NMJL

    >From: "tracyc13
    >Sent: Friday, January 8, 2016 6:42 PM
    >Subject: Q&A Comment -- The NMJL has a new street address
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was just browsing through today's Q&As, and I notice that in replying to Harriett, you wrote the League's old address. I believe they moved a few months ago. Below is the new contact information as per the NMJL website. It "feels" wrong not to see that familiar old address at 250 W. 57th Street, but I'll bet their old offices in that building are already rented to a new tenant. :) Thanks as always for your very commendable efforts in all things mah-jongg - Tracy C
    >The National Mah Jongg League, Inc.
    >450 7th Avenue
    >Suite 405
    >New York, NY 10123
    >Phone: 212.246.3052
    >Fax: 212.246.4117

    Omigosh, you are so right, Tracy! I got that new address from the League and totally spaced. Correcting that right now, thanx 2 U!
    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
    January 8, 2016


    Returning dead exposures, part 4

    >From: Harriett E
    >Sent: Friday, January 8, 2016 12:19 PM
    >Subject: One more question
    >As a follow up to my previous question, the ruling say the tiles are to be returned to the rack when declaring Mahj. The situation I have been talking about is not that the player had declared a Mahj but another player noticed it was a concealed hand. What would happen to the tiles exposed in this situation?
    >Cheers, Harriett

    Hi, Harriett. As I read rule 3(b), page 16, of the official rulebook, "... a concealed hand that has been incorrectly exposed for a declaration of Mah Jongg must be returned to the rack, [the player is dead], and nothing can be redeemed from the concealed hand," I notice especially the last nine words: "and nothing can be redeemed from the concealed hand." To me, that last phrase indicates the League's intent for the rule, and that intent covers the situation we've been talking about.
    I hear you that, until someone notices that the two exposures indicate a concealed hand, someone could redeem a joker. I have even had readers suggest doing this as a strategy - "I know the hand is dead, but nobody else does, and I want that joker, so I keep my mouth shut and don't call her dead so I can redeem that joker." Of course, that's an evil strategy (knowingly taking advantage of a loophole for personal gain).
    Again: if you want to argue against, or get a justification for, a NMJL rule, you need to contact the League in writing (don't call on the phone - see FAQ 19BN). The address is 250 West 57th Street, NY NY 10107.*

    Cheers back atcha, Harriett. 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
    January 8, 2016

    *See correct address in post from Tracy C, above.


    Returning dead exposures, part 3

    >From: Harriett E
    >Sent: Friday, January 8, 2016 10:07 AM
    >Subject: Fwd: Redeeming jokers from a dead hand
    >Hi there!
    >Bonnie has forwarded this message on to me. I just need to clarify: you are saying that some can make an exposure and several turns later it is discovered that the initial exposure was part of a concealed hand then ALL exposed tiles must be returned to the rack? What if the player was determining between two hands and initially the tiles were part of a exposed hand but then they changed their hand to concealed hand in error. The initial exposure would not have been in error?
    >Sorry to be so picky but it seems to me that this would then fall under the rule of returning the tiles that brought the error to attention. I agree all the tiles should be returned if they were all exposed in error for Mahj as that is exactly what the ruling states but the tiles that were exposed earlier were ambiguious. I guess I'm thinking that these tiles have been available for many turns and may have already given up a joker to another player.
    >I know I'm a dog with a bone but inquiring minds need to know. :)
    >Best regards Harriett

    Hi, Harriett. You wrote:

    I just need to clarify: you are saying that some can make an exposure and several turns later it is discovered that the initial exposure was part of a concealed hand then ALL exposed tiles must be returned to the rack?
    Rule 3(b), page 16, of the official rulebook says, "... a concealed hand that has been incorrectly exposed for a declaration of Mah Jongg must be returned to the rack, [the player is dead], and nothing can be redeemed from the concealed hand." 


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

    What if the player was determining between two hands and initially the tiles were part of a exposed hand but then they changed their hand to concealed hand in error. The initial exposure would not have been in error?
    The second exposure kinda ruined everything, then, didn't it.

    Sorry to be so picky but it seems to me that this would then fall under the rule of returning the tiles that brought the error to attention. I agree all the tiles should be returned if they were all exposed in error for Mahj as that is exactly what the ruling states but the tiles that were exposed earlier were ambiguious. I guess I'm thinking that these tiles have been available for many turns and may have already given up a joker to another player.
    You understand, don't you, that I'm not the maker of the rules. I just have a website where people ask me questions about rules of various forms of mah-jongg. If you want to argue against, or get a justification for, a NMJL rule, you need to contact the League in writing. 250 West 57th Street, NY NY 10107.*

    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
    January 8, 2016

    *See correct address in post from Tracy C, above.


    Donation

    >From: Janet W via PayPal
    >Sent: Friday, January 8, 2016 9:32 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Janet W
    >PayPal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Janet W. You can view the transaction details online.
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
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    >Message: thank you for sharing your knowledge with encouragement for beginners and wit for all Janet
    >Sincerely,
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    Thank you very much, Janet! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Looking for players, part 2

    >From: Charles G
    >Sent: Friday, January 8, 2016 8:44 AM
    >Subject: Re: International Mahjongg
    >Thank you so very much, Tom.

    You're welcome, Charles. (^_^)


    Is there a downloadable program, part 3

    >From: Larry M
    >Sent: Friday, January 8, 2016 8:47 AM
    >Subject: Mahjongg for android devices
    >Just googled for real mahjong,not tile matching games available at their or through their play store. No go. Thanks for trying. I'll check your site periodically to see what might develop. In meantime may tiles be with you! Larry (I really don't like that double consonant in my name). Do you? Best wishes.

    Larry,
    Googling does not work. You have to go on Google Play, using your Android tablet. The only way to find and get Android apps is through Google's app store - not by using the Google search engine. Find the app store icon on your tablet, and click tap it. 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
    January 8, 2016


    Looking for players

    >From: Charles Goldstein <goldsteinrealtoryahoo.com>
    >Sent: Thursday, January 7, 2016 10:16 PM
    >Subject: International Mahjongg
    >Tom:
    >I recently watched a short video about the 2015 International Mahjongg Tournament. I've been playing Chinese Mahjongg with various scoring rules for about six years in El Cerrito in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    >Can you direct me to any nearby group that plays with International Mahjongg rules? I've read the scoring chart and it's a lot more complicated, but seems like lots of fun. I would hope to play in Asia someday. Thanks.
    >Direct Phone (510) 526-7171

    Charles:
    I have posted your information on the FIND PLAYERS BULLETIN BOARD. You can link to it above left. Please use the Find Players BB and FAQ 15 to find players. Thanks, and good luck!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    List of MJ Rules

    >From: Susan T
    >Sent: Thursday, January 7, 2016 9:58 PM
    >Subject: Variations of Mah Jong in other countries
    >Dear Tom,
    >I didn't see the topic for which I need information in your Nav Frame, but perhaps I over looked it, in which case you can refer me to the correct section. Here is what I want to know: I would like a list of the types of Mah Jong played in other countries, and a brief summary of how they are played...pre-set hands, jokers or no jokers, etc. I have heard mention of Hong Kong, Japanese and Chinese Mah Jong (am I correct in assuming that the games in other parts of the world do not have the "gg" at the end like American Mah Jongg?). Do the sets that these other countries use look like ours? Do they use racks, or are we the only country that does?
    >Regards,
    >Susan T

    Hi, Susan. You asked:

    I would like a list of the types of Mah Jong played in other countries, and a brief summary of how they are played...pre-set hands, jokers or no jokers, etc.
    FAQ 2B has exactly what you're looking for.

    am I correct in assuming that the games in other parts of the world do not have the "gg" at the end like American Mah Jongg?
    Wright-Patterson rules also use the double G. As I told Larry the other day (below), Joseph Park Babcock, who popularized the game in 1920, named it with the double G. If you're interested in learning about the history of mah-jongg, see FAQ 11.

    Do the sets that these other countries use look like ours?
    See FAQ 7A.

    Do they use racks, or are we the only country that does?
    See FAQ 7D.

    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
    January 7, 2016


    Returning dead exposures, part 2

    >From: Bonnie M
    >Sent: Thursday, January 7, 2016 6:57 PM
    >Subject: Re: Redeeming jokers from a dead hand
    >Hi Tom,
    >I think you misunderstood my question as I realize I did not ask it properly. I will reword it. A concealed hand was being played and a person called for exposure using a joker. No one realizes it is a concealed hand and the exposure remains with the joker. Then the person calls for another tile using a joker and makes the exposure. At this point it is realized that the hand is concealed and declared dead. Do all the tiles need to go back on the rack at this point or only the second exposure?
    >On your site and I quote" Upon death declaration due to exposing a hand that was supposed to be concealed all tiles (including the jokers) are returned to the rack." .
    >Thanks,
    >Bonnie M.

    Hi, Bonnie. You wrote:

    On your site and I quote" Upon death declaration due to exposing a hand that was supposed to be concealed all tiles (including the jokers) are returned to the rack."
    You are right, Bonnie. FAQ 19P says, "See rule 3(b), page 16, of the official rulebook." So I opened the official rulebook...


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

    ...It says, "... a concealed hand that has been incorrectly exposed for a declaration of Mah Jongg must be returned to the rack, [the player is dead], and nothing can be redeemed from the concealed hand." So, you're right, and I'm striking out my previous reply, below.

    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
    January 7, 2016


    Returning dead exposures to the sloping front of the rack

    >From: Bonnie M
    >Sent: Thursday, January 7, 2016 3:25 PM
    >Subject: Redeeming jokers from a dead hand
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have read the rule book and question number p on your website and I understand that you can take a joker from an exposed hand if the exposure took place before the hand was declared to be dead. All other tiles should be returned to the rack. I also read in the rule book and your site for a concealed hand, all tiles need to be returned even if there was an exposure before the hand was deemed to be dead because it was a concealed hand. The problem I am having is trying to convince one of my Mahjongg partners that this is correct. She feels that if an exposure was made before the hand was known to be a concealed hand and declared dead, those tiles should remain on the rack and a joker could still be redeemed. She feels this is right because before the hand was deemed to be dead as a concealed hand, someone could have taken a joker, so those tiles should remain exposed and the jokers should still be available. Please help!
    >Bonnie M.

    Bonnie,
    One exposure doesn't necessarily reveal the fact that a hand is dead. If one exposure reveals that a hand is dead, then that single exposure must be returned to the sloping front of the rack when the player's hand is declared dead. But if the single exposure is ambiguous, it is not improper, and may remain on the horizontal top of the rack. In regards to what you said:

    I also read in the rule book and your site for a concealed hand, all tiles need to be returned even if there was an exposure before the hand was deemed to be dead because it was a concealed hand.
    That doesn't sound right.* Can you tell me exactly where to find that in my book, and on my site?

    She feels that if an exposure was made before the hand was known to be a concealed hand and declared dead, those tiles should remain on the rack and a joker could still be redeemed.
    She is right. FAQ 19P says, "Any jokers that had been exposed PRIOR to the blunder (the jokers in the first exposure) are still valid for redemption, but any jokers exposed in the course of making the blunder (the jokers in the second exposure) are dead."*

    She feels this is right because before the hand was deemed to be dead as a concealed hand, someone could have taken a joker, so those tiles should remain exposed and the jokers should still be available.
    That's over-thinking. The rule is the rule, no matter what the reason for the rule may be (and I cannot know the reason behind every 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
    January 7, 2016

    *Corrected in later email (above).


    They complain, part 2

    >From: Rebecca R M
    >Sent: Thursday, January 7, 2016 2:18 PM
    >Subject: Re: flashing on website
    >Dear Tom,
    >Thank you for your informative response. The “flashing” is the two fields on the top of the FAQ page for American Mah Jongg. Apparently, with long periods of reading on the website, the ads, which are yours (no offense intended), continually rotate from one to another. This movement is confusing for the ladies - we are old. They get irritated (post-menopausal condition) and then leave the website. We don’t want you to stop reminding us of all your other benefits to the website (Oh contrare, we need the reminders). Would it be possible to list all the benefits without them constantly rotating. We understand if you choose not to do this, but we would stay on your site much longer and have more women on it if you did. Of course, we do have the alternative of cut and paste (For me, it means I know the Q and A better than the rest, giving me a competitive advantage - tee hee.
    >Thank you sincerely, Rebecca

    >From: Rebecca R M
    >Sent: Thursday, January 7, 2016 2:45 PM
    >Subject: Re: flashing on website
    >P.S. We do love your website and appreciate your timely efforts already taken to accommodate us.

    Hi, Rebecca. I can only assume you are referring to these:

    Those animated gifs serve a necessary purpose: to draw attention, so people will be aware of (especially) my column and my book. Because you relayed a complaint about them, today I modified them. They used to look like this until today:

    I simplified them by removing some frames and by slowing down the flash rate. I hope you can see the difference, and that you agree that the revised versions (upper) are less irritating than before (lower).

    I understand that some people are distracted by animated gifs and may be irritated by them. But it's very easy to simply scroll until the animations go off the top of screen, and then one may freely read the page text. I never (until this post, in order to determine the nature of the complaint) intersperse animated gifs with the body of text. Or your ladies can click where it says in fine print: "Mobile users: to display only this frame, click here." Then they won't see the two gifs at all.

    Abraham Lincoln famously said, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time." I hope to please most of the people most of the time, knowing that that is the best I can do, while also retaining necessary site navigation functionality. And of course a simpler solution for you is to buy the League's official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy, which may or may not be less expensive than my book, and keep it handy during play.


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


    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
    January 7, 2016


    They complain about not being able to read the site because of the flashing words

    >From: Rebecca R M
    >Sent: Thursday, January 7, 2016 6:04 AM
    >Subject: flashing on website
    >Dear Tom,
    >I am a retired woman in Beverly Beach (Flagler/Palm Coast/Daytona) area. I teach Mah Jongg at a local subdivision and love your website. I have tried to share it with our group, but I keep getting complaints about the ladies not being able to read the website because of all the flashing words. Is there any way to turn them off? If not, can I print the question and answer area so they can read it? If I cannot print it, may I cut and paste it, so it is printable?
    >Rebecca


    >From: Rebecca M via PayPal
    >Sent: Thursday, January 7, 2016 6:09 AM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    >PayPal
    >You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Rebecca M
    >Receipt ID:
    >The number above is the donor's receipt ID for this transaction. Please retain it for your records so that you will be able to reference this transaction for customer service.
    >View the details of this transaction online
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Confirmation number:
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Rebecca M
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much for the donation, Rebecca. To respond to your questions/comments:

    I keep getting complaints about the ladies not being able to read the website because of all the flashing words.
    I am sorry that your ladies find the animated gifs on my site so distracting. Just now, I altered the column banner and the book banner to make them less flashy, but I don't know if those are the ones that distract your ladies so.

    Is there any way to turn them off?
    There is no way for you to alter what you see on my site. The site is under my sole control, and I am able to make changes, but I wish I had a clearer understanding of the problem. Depending on what they're complaining about, it might be a very time-consuming effort.

    can I print the question and answer area so they can read it?
    Anything on the worldwide web, including this website, is printable. I'm sure you can figure something 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
    January 7, 2016


    Is there a downloadable program, part 2

    >From: Larry M
    >Sent: Thursday, January 7, 2016 9:01 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mahjong
    >Referred to four winds by lagarto as "your" because on page 222 "your" book you use important adjective important when writing about it. You use that word in describing no other computer program. Perhaps I attached too much importance? to its use by wrongly deducing that 4 winds was likely to bring me most long term satisfaction play mahjong (I dislike very much the use of double consonants that do nothing to enlighten, but do occupy (waste) time, space and effort. Don't you? Hence no double g in mahjong. If you'll (another of the many pesky double consonants in this missive.), reread my original email you'll note that I stated that I was a novice at both computer use and mahjongg?,so to answer your question about why I don't just play, I could not, as there was no program to play on my android powered tablet, just some peripheral info that came from the site where I thought I had down loaded "your" important c omputer program. Didn't mean to mislead. I knew the program was offered by lagarto whoever or whatever lagarto is. No idea whether you are or are not affiliated with lagarto and no business mine either. Any apology needed, consider rendered. To show how lost I am on downloading a useful mahjong game for offline play I have not been able to find my way back to where I was when I erroneously thought I was getting the 4 winds game. Any suggestions?
    > Larry

    Welcome back, Larry. To respond to your questions/comments:

    Referred to four winds by lagarto as "your" because on page 222 "your" book you use important adjective important
    Ah, I see. I referred to that game as "important" because I saw it as a valuable resource for anyone wanting to play just about any kind of mah-jongg on the computer.

    wrongly deducing that 4 winds was likely to bring me most long term satisfaction play mahjong
    Because Four Winds has many powerful features, it may be a little more complicated than some other mah-jongg software. It may not be any more enjoyable to play than another. I still recommend you just try some until you find one that works for you.

    I dislike very much the use of double consonants that do nothing to enlighten, but do occupy (waste) time, space and effort. Don't you? Hence no double g in mahjong.
    (^_^) The reason I always refer to the game as "mah-jongg" is because that's the name Joseph P. Babcock gave the game, and the National Mah Jongg League uses the double G, also. The NMJL omits the hyphen, but I retain it out of respect for what Babcock did. If you're interested in learning about the history of mah-jongg, see FAQ 11.

    To show how lost I am on downloading a useful mahjong game for offline play I have not been able to find my way back to where I was when I erroneously thought I was getting the 4 winds game. Any suggestions?
    I don't think Four Winds runs on the Android operating system. I don't own an Android device myself, but I know there is a store where you can obtain games for your tablet. It's called Google Play. You'll need to go somewhere where you can get on wi-fi, get on their wi-fi, then find the icon for Google Play or the App Store or whatever the icon is called, then hunt through the store for some "mahjong" apps. Most of them will surely just be tile-matching games, not actual mah-jongg. I can't help you beyond that. I hope you find something you can enjoy, Larry!

    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
    January 7, 2016


    How I make stickers

    >From: Allan W
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 5:33 PM
    >Subject: Cleaning/Restoring Tip
    >Here's my tip: I recently purchased a bone/bamboo set with one missing 9 circle of a design most rare. I took the three remaining 9 circle tiles to Staples and made a photocopy in color on a plastic sheet. Using an Exacto knife and straight edge, I cut out the plastic picture of one tile and glued it to a blank tile using Mod Podge. After the glue thoroughly dried, I buffed the edges with an emery board. Visually, the four tiles are identical. The only difference is the lack of carving when handled.

    Great tip, Allan. I'm adding this to the FAQ about stickers (FAQ 7T).
    Happy Year of the Monkey!
    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
    January 7, 2016


    What is a "white master," part 2

    >From: Anita Mullen
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 7:16 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: “What is a White Master” question in your Q&A.
    >Just FYI … I think this refers to the Mah Jongg Master Points from tournaments. Here is the link for your reference.
    >Anita

    Hi, Anita. I knew MJ Master Points was a possibility, but since I get questions about all kinds of mah-jongg I've found that it's not good to assume anything. I figured it was from tournament ranking, but for all I knew, it could have been from American, Chinese, or Japanese tournaments.
    I see that the term is actually "White Tile Master," and that it obviously means someone who has only entered the ranks of MJMP and has not yet accumulated many points.
    Happy Year of the Monkey, and may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 5, 2016


    What is a "white master"?

    >From: Jen
    >Sent: Monday, January 4, 2016 8:10 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have a good friend listed as a white master in Mahjongg. What does that mean? Jcs

    I don't know, Jen. I'd need to see this "listing" in context. If you can share a link or a scan or photo of this list, I might be able to deduce some clues. For instance, what other ranks are there besides "white master"? What other names are on the list - are they Japanese? Chinese? Names of women? Without more contextual information, I can't help.
    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
    January 4, 2016


    Is there a downloadable program that will allow me to play while offline

    >From: Larry M
    >Sent: Monday, January 4, 2016 8:32 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong
    >Based on your book and the fact that I was unable to find a definitive answer to the question, is there a downloadable program that will allow me to play while offline
    >(I have a tablet and no wifi at home), I downloaded your four winds by lagarto last week. Now what? Only had my tablet couple months, played mahjong maybe half dozen games in 1960s from tiles purchased Hong Kong 1965 while with usn, not even sure will like enough to pursue with any dedication,but maybe. As you can see I'm a novice at both computers and even more so at mahjong, any help appreciated.
    >Don't know about any correlation between those who enjoy bridge and mahjong, maybe you do and if so might help you decide whether or not it's worth your time to answer this email. I've been enamored with the bridge game ever since exposure in college late 50s and played duplicate regularly for last 20 years. That makes me almost 77 and something about teaching old dog_____so if you figure waste of time spent on someone well over the hill no offense will be taken. Larry M

    Hi, Larry. I'll get to your first question first, then let's see what else I might be able to reply to.

    is there a downloadable program that will allow me to play while offline
    Yes. I have a list in FAQ 5 - some offline, some online. The best thing to do is just try a bunch of them until you find one that pleases you better than the others.

    I have a tablet
    I'm sorry that I haven't been working very hard at updating FAQ 5 with mobile apps - I figure those are easy enough to find on the app store appropriate to your device. With the exception that tile-matching games are usually misleadingly named "mahjong" when they aren't really mah-jongg. Again, the best bet is to just try a bunch until you find something you can live with.

    and no wifi at home
    I don't know the reason why you mention that - either because you can't play multiplayer games at home or because you can't download without heading to a Wi-Fi coffee shop. So I can't really respond to this point.

    I downloaded your four winds by lagarto last week.
    It's not mine. I don't know why you said "your" in that sentence. Is there someplace on the internet that erroneously ascribes that game to me, or associates my name with it?

    Now what?
    I don't understand what you're asking. Play it, why don't you?

    Only had my tablet couple months, played mahjong maybe half dozen games in 1960s from tiles purchased Hong Kong 1965 while with usn, not even sure will like enough to pursue with any dedication,but maybe.
    I appreciate your service (especially during that tumultuous era, although I was a conscientious objector in '71-72). Again, though - I'm not sure what I'm supposed to get from that sentence. Just try playing some games. Four Winds supports Hong Kong rules for sure - I didn't know it had been ported to tablets (I suppose it ought to work if your tablet runs Windows).

    Don't know about any correlation between those who enjoy bridge and mahjong, maybe you do
    I suppose there are people who enjoy both (I have met mah-jongg players who play bridge). I don't care for bridge myself. I don't think there's any general "correlation" that can be made. Not sure why you mention this. If you want to play mah-jongg, just play it.

    and if so might help you decide whether or not it's worth your time to answer this email.
    All emails about mah-jongg are "worth my time to answer." That's what I do here.

    if you figure waste of time spent on someone well over the hill no offense will be taken.
    I'm not exactly a spring chicken myself. Stop being so hard on yourself. By all means, play! Keep exercising your brain!

    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
    January 4, 2016


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