|By Tom Sloper
November 4, 2012
American Mah Jongg (2012 NMJL card). What would you discard?
1. Those flowers are only good for hands #1and #3 (seven tiles, not counting the jokers, each). Other options include #4 and #5 (also seven each) and #6 (eight tiles but concealed). You have to eliminate something; I wouldn't eliminate #6. Discard 3B.
2. Three jokers means think quints first. 2B doesn't fit with #1 or #2, so chuck it. If you prefer the safe conservative option, Consec. #1 or #2, discard 3D.
3. Consec. or Like Numbers? Let me count the ways. No, don't bother. Can't use the third soap.
4. Eight tiles towards S&P #4. Those dragons will lead you down a primrose path. There are no more than six tiles towards any Evens hand using dragons. But ignoring dragons, you have two seven-tile options (Evens #2 and #4). So slay a dragon.
5. Consec. #1 is out of question given absence of fives. Eight tiles towards #2 (6-7-6-7-8) and #3 (6-7-8-9). Break up 8C.
6. Odds #3 is closer than Consec. #4. Throw F or 2D.
7. Keep the flowers if you want to go for Like Numbers (six tiles, not counting jokers). Keep the 5D if you want to go for Odds #7 (also six). Keep the craks if you want to go for Consec. #1 (seven tiles, but lotsa luck picking in those pairs).
8. How do we let these things happen? Stop thinking 369, and lose those dragons, too. Like Nos., probably.
9. The mah-jongg gods are tormenting you with Elevens #2, in several dimensions at once. If you can't choose one now, you can eliminate one now. Or you can thumb your nose at those gods, and go for Like Numbers.
10. As in #8 above, forget 369. This time, get even.
11. Probably want to go for Odds #7. You have two superfluous tiles: F and the third 7C.
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Question or comment about this column? I often, um... intentionally... "miss" something; maybe you'll be the first one to spot it! Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.
Where to order the yearly NMJL card: Read FAQ 7i.
Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book in existence about the American game. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the official rulebook from the NMJL (see FAQ 3). Linda Fisher's website is the only website that describes American rules: http://sites.google.com/site/mahjrules/.
© 2012 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.