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By Tom Sloper
January 14, 2018

Column #695

American (National Mah Jongg League rules). Did you get the 2018 newsletter? For members who buy the card direct from the League, the newsletter arrived in mailboxes this month. There are some noteworthy tidbits in it.

Continuing from last week's column:

5. The rule on redeemable jokers (top page 6) is still not sufficiently defined, in my opinion. A hand might not be declared dead until well after it should be obvious to all that it is dead. This rule should be based on whether exposures are ambiguous or unambiguous, not on when someone eventually notices that the hand is unambiguously dead. When one or more exposures atop the rack clearly indicate a dead hand, any exposure(s) that unambiguously show that the hand is dead ought to be returned to the sloping front of the rack, and if any earlier exposure was ambiguous, that one should remain atop the rack. (Strategically, this illustrates why exposures should be arranged in chronological order atop the rack.) I believe I am interpreting the rule correctly, and I wish it was defined that clearly in writing by the League.

6. The League described the correct way to make a joker exchange, just as I've described it in FAQ 19M (player with the natural tile holds it out to the player with the joker and asks for the joker).

7. "336 is not a pung. 33669 is not a quint. 336699 is not a sextet." I love that specificity!

8. "A zero may never be used in a consecutive run." I've always told askers this, but I believe this is the first time it's been confirmed by the League in print.

9. The terms "misnamed" and "miscalled" are apparently interchangeable. For the record, I still disapprove the term "miscalled," since the verb "call" has another... calling (thus is subject to misinterpretation).

Pursuant to these rule clarifications, I have updated FAQ 19 and the RDWW errata. Happy new year to us, everyone!

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Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book about the American game, including official rules not in the outdated official rulebook. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND every player should have a copy of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the National Mah Jongg League (see FAQ 3 for info on mah-jongg books).

Where to order the yearly NMJL card: Read FAQ 7i.

© 2018 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.