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Malaysian 3 Player Mah-Jongg

By Vincent Cheah and Tom Sloper*

Vincent did most of the work. Tom just helped clean up the English, dressed up the article with images, stuff like that.

The Equipment

36......Dot tiles
16......Four winds
8.......Flowers & Seasons
4.......Faces (or extra Flower)
4.......Animals (or extra Flower)
4.......Fly (or Joker)
2.......Party tables for snacks (optional; see FAQ 7f)

Tile set for use with Malaysian 3-player rules. This set contains 88 tiles, but only 84 are needed.
Photo courtesy Mahjong Museum

The "Fly" tiles are used like Jokers. (You can just use Jokers, if your set has them. Either American-style or Chinese-style Jokers will do. See FAQ 7e.)

The "Face" tiles are used like Flowers. (You can use flower tiles for these, if your set has enough flowers.)

The "Animal" tiles are used like Flowers. The pictured set has "cock & worm and "cat & rat" tiles, but other sets may contain different animal tiles (see FAQ 7e). If your set doesn't have animal tiles, you can simply use extra flower tiles (if your set has those).

The rectangular-design tiles can be used as White Dragons.

Some people use the blank tiles as White Dragons. Whichever tiles you use as White Dragons (the rectangular-design tiles or the blank tiles), leave the other tiles off the table during play.

Organize the game (3 players)

Choose a dealer
Each player roll the 2 dice. High roller becomes first dealer.

Build Wall
Each player builds a 14-tile-long wall (2 tiles high, as in other forms of mah-jongg).

Because there are 3 players and your table is probably square, one side of the table is unoccupied. There being no North player, the 3 players are called East, South, and West, as shown above.

Dealer start
Dealer throws 2 dice first. Add the dice and count counterclockwise from the dealer (three times making one revolution around the table) to find the wall where the break will occur. The player sitting by that wall rolls the dice again. Sum up the total of the 2 throws.

Breaking the Wall
From the rightmost stack of the wall in front of the player who rolled the second time, count the sum of the two throws clockwise, stack by stack.

Example: Dealer's first roll is a ten. Counting around the table counterclockwise, it's the dealer's wall that will be broken. Dealer's second roll is a six. Dealer's wall is 14 stacks long, so the wall to the dealer's left is broken after two stacks.

The Deal
Dealer takes the first two stacks after the break (clockwise from the break), followed by the next player to dealer's right drawing 2 stacks, and so on. (Just as is done in other forms of mah-jongg.)

Dealer will start with 14 tiles and the other players with 13 tiles (just as in most other forms of mah-jongg.* If you need more explanation about the deal, see FAQ 10). * The main exceptions: Taiwanese, Filipino, 12-Tile mah-jongg. See FAQ 2b.

The dice are placed in the corner to the right of the dealer.

Starting the game

Each player must reveal all his flowers/seasons/faces/animals in front of him and take replacement tiles from the back end of the wall. Each player counterclockwise from the dealer does the same, in turn. This rotation continues until no more flowers/seasons/faces/animals are in any player's hand.

Dealer starts the game by discarding one tile to the table. The game is now underway!

The game is played much as it is in other Asian forms (see FAQ 10).

Winning the game.

The goal is to form a complete hand of four sets and a pair ("eye"), as in most Asian forms of mah-jongg.
But in this Malaysian game, you need a minimum of 5 fan to win.

The Fly
One special feature of this form of mah-jongg, compared with other Asian forms, is this special wild tile, the "FLY."
The fly can be used to represent any tile in making a 3-tile set.
You may use the fly...


As in most forms of mah-jongg, the play is simple but the scoring can be complicated to learn. As in many Asian forms, the Malaysian game is scored with both "points" and "fan," which are each used in different ways to arrive at the final score.

Next Game

Winner become dealer.
Game continue with next dealer throw dice.

Note: There is NO round winds , or limit of number of round to play . The game end when 2 or more player agree to stop the game. That's why compare to other mah-jongg rule , it more shorter per round time . Each round take about 5-15 minute. So , it flexible and fun to play for leisure.

Other Special Rules

  • "Nine gates" and "Four conceal PONG/GONG" must be win by self draw tile.
  • Fly reveal as flower cannot be replace and draw back to hand.
  • Ban discard
  • if a player already PONG/GONG 2 set of dragon , other player cannot discard remaining type of dragon tile to the table , if do so , and if the player win/Wu, the player who discard the tile bear all the losing point.
  • if a player already PONG/GONG 3 set of wind or dragon , other player cannot discard remaining type of dragon/wind tile to the table , if do so , and if the player win/Wu, the player who discard the tile bear all the losing point.

    Other rule may follow usual mah-jongg rule , like , drawing tile , PONG , GONG , CHOW , Wu, penalty for more/less tile in hand , player turn ?cetc. The fundamental of mah-jongg rule still exist.

    The Strategy

    The fun of this game is to build up your hand fast to win and can be consider as speed mah-jongg game.
    The strategy also can be offensive and aggressive play , some people like to win the game when have enough fan but some people like to build the hand to win with max fan.

    Copyright 2003 Vincent Cheah and Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.

    More on Malaysian mah-jongg, from the Mah-Jongg FAQs bulletin board: