SITE LINKS  

Maj Exchange Boards
Q & A Bulletin Board
Find Players BB
Sets For Sale BB
Sets Wanted BB
Tiles For Sale BB
Tiles Wanted BB
Accessories For Sale BB
Accessories Wanted BB

The Mah-Jongg FAQs
(
Frequently Asked Questions)

19. American Mah-Jongg
16. The NMJL Card

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

Mah-Jonggy Fun
The 2002 WCMJ
The 2003 CMOC
The 2005 OEMC
The 2005 CMCF
The 2006 CMCF
The 2007 OEMC
The 2007 WMJC
Pictures of Japan
Beautiful Nikko, Japan
A Hong Kong MJ Adventure
Pictures of Beijing
Mahjong in India
Shanghai & Ningbo
Shanghai Second Dynasty
Mah-Jongg Friends

Other parts of Sloperama:
Hanafuda (Go-Stop)
Game Design Section
Business Section
Sloperama Home Page

The Mah Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION.

Welcome to the Maj Exchange Q&A Bulletin Board. Here you can ask questions about Mahjong (you can also ask about Hanafuda or Go-Stop). You will get answers here on this board (usually the same day). But BEFORE YOU ASK YOUR QUESTION, PLEASE CHECK THE FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), and PLEASE scroll down and see if your question has already been asked and answered on the board.

PLEASE READ FAQ 19 BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION ABOUT AMERICAN / NMJL RULES. Your question has probably already been answered there. (See links at left. Look for the "American" icon pointing to it, or just click this.) PLEASE READ THE FOREGOING!

  • If you have a question about the NMJL card, please read FAQ 16. (See links at left. Look for the "American" icon: pointing to it.)

  • PLEASE do NOT ask ANY computer-game support questions here. Read FAQ 24 to learn how to get tech support. (See links at left.)

  • If you are seeking a "Mah-Jong Solitaire" tile-matching game, please read FAQ 12.(See links at left.)

    Privacy policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes permission for your email to be made public. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.) Your last name and email address will usually be omitted.

    Email your question to WebmasterSloperama.com. I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only - telephoned questions are not welcome. And don't ask me to click links, either. Give me all the information in your email.


    To ask a question, click the image or email the address above.

    After you submit your comment or question, return to this board sometime later to see the response - and keep coming back to see followup discussions.

    No shouting, please. Typing in all capital letters is considered "shouting." Nobody is allowed to shout here but me! (^_^) If your question or comment is typed in all capital letters, it will be converted to all lower case before being posted here with my reply. For reader enjoyment, humor is sometimes used in the responses that I give. Please don't be offended by a response given in the spirit of reader enlightenment and entertainment.

    Please note that this site is NOT associated with the National Mah Jongg League. Although questions about their card and rules are welcome here, please read FAQ 16 and FAQ 19 to see if your question has already been answered. Also, you can click here to learn how to contact the NMJL directly.

    If you appreciate the free information on this site, your donation would be gratefully accepted, and would help keep this site running as a free service. Thank you!


  • I want to set up a situation, part 2

    >From: shirtsnb
    >Sent: Saturday, December 31, 2011 11:38 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >It's Zhejiang province, Wenzhou. I don't think people play tournaments but a ton of people play with friends. Some rich people, it's all they do all day, and rich people are who we get at my job.

    Hello Shirts,
    Well, I don't know what variant they play in Wenzhou - it's probably similar to Shanghai style. But if my answer doesn't work for you, let me know what else you need.
    Happy new year, Shirts.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 31, 2011


    I want to set up a situation for brownie points

    >From: shirtsnb
    >Sent: Saturday, December 31, 2011 10:35 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I know there are a lot of special hands in Majiang with various fanciful names. I'd like to create four of them from one set of majiang tiles.
    >
    >Why? Well, I started this new job, and in one of the rooms there is a majiang table with an unopened majiang set sitting on it. Just for laughs, I thought I'd set up a position where all four players are sitting on those special hands that nobody ever hardly sees in real life. The customers would get a kick out of it because I figure a lot of them are hardcore majiang players, plus it would earn me some brownie points in the boss' eyes.
    >
    >I soon ran into problems, because a lot of special hands call for all four winds, or 1-9 of an entire suit, or whatever. Makes it hard to create four special hands using only the tiles from one set!
    >
    >North is facing the door, and everyone walking down the hall will see it, so it should be the most spectacular fireworks hand. East and West face the sides and can be anything, the awesomer the better. South is at the end. I'd actually like to make South a dud hand. Just a legendarily awful hand, but not one of those hands that's so bad it scores points because it's scoreless. I suppose every hand should have 14 tiles, even though that's an impossible situation. I'll set up the rest of the tiles in the wall on the table.
    >
    >This is China, so no Taiwan rules, Hong Kong rules, or any other strangeness. No flowers or any of those other extra silly tiles. One of the problems I've had is simply finding China's version of special hands, as most of the reference material in English does not apply to the Chinese style.

    Hello Shirts, you wrote:

    I know there are a lot of special hands in Majiang with various fanciful names
    Yes, but which kind of mah-jongg are we talking about?

    This is China, so no Taiwan rules, Hong Kong rules, or any other strangeness. No flowers or any of those other extra silly tiles.
    Okay, so... I still don't know which part of China we're talking about, or which rules we're talking about. By process of elimination, we are not talking about HKOS, Taiwanese, or MCR. We might be talking about World Series rules, or Shanghai rules since you said no flowers.

    Just for laughs, I thought I'd set up a position where all four players are sitting on those special hands that nobody ever hardly sees in real life... [but] a lot of special hands call for all four winds, or 1-9 of an entire suit, or whatever. Makes it hard to create four special hands using only the tiles from one set!
    Simple. Make four hands of Thirteen Orphans, waiting for the 14th tile (a duplicate of any tile in the hand).

    I suppose every hand should have 14 tiles
    No. Every hand should have 13 unique honors/terminals - so each one is waiting for a duplicate to win.

    I'd actually like to make South a dud hand.
    Just give him tiles that if he throws any of them, one of the other players will win. (He'd have to have 13 unique honors/terms too -- and then his hand is just as unwinnable as everybody else's since nobody would break up their hand.)

    Just a legendarily awful hand, but not one of those hands that's so bad it scores points because it's scoreless.
    I don't know which kind of mah-jongg is popular in your region of China. Maybe an all-chow hand, or only 7 tiles towards Thirteen Orphans, plus a chow and two pairs, so he has to throw the winning tile.

    One of the problems I've had is simply finding China's version of special hands, as most of the reference material in English does not apply to the Chinese style.
    I still don't know which Chinese style you mean. I know of 14 current Chinese variants (I'm not even counting 4 variants that are no longer played in China.) Maybe there is a description of your Chinese style in English. Read Frequently Asked Question 2B. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).

    Happy new year, Shirts.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 31, 2011


    What would Tom do?

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Saturday, December 31, 2011 7:04 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: 1) Playing American mah jongg hand consecutive 5-9, player A had in rack: all dots 5, 66J, 77JJ, 888, 99. Another player B discarded a 7 dot and player A did not call it.
    >
    >2) Playing consecutive 1-5, I had all craks: 11, 222,33JJ,444,5 and when player C discarded a 3 crak I did call it, displayed the 333J and discarded the other joker. At both times there were still almost a wall and a few tiles on east's side to play and neither the other 7 dot nor 3 crak was discarded. What would you have done in each situation and how would you have evaluated each?
    >(My thinking was that I could maybe have a jokerless hand if someone (even me) redeemed my joker and of course if someone discarded or I picked the needed 5 crak I would win. Her thinking was that by calling the 7 dot and discarding a joker, she was revealing her hand and that she needed one of the pair tiles and she still needed a 6 dot.) I would agree with her if she had other tiles of that particular hand exposed but there are other hands which use 4 sevens or 4 threes.
    >
    >3) Any other advice about calling a discard and then discarding a joker?
    >
    >I received a mah jongg bracelet of various tiles and one was a joker so I will always have a joker with me but sadly I can't use it in a winning hand!!! Your book, RD&WW, is a wonderful resource for all mah jongg players. Thanks for a great year of Mah Jongg columns and Q&A and I wish you and yours a very Happy & Healthy New Year! Lynn P

    Hi Lynn, happy new year! You wrote:

    What would Tom do with this:

    I would have done the same thing Player A did, of course! It would be silly to call 7D and expose part of the hand, since her only recourse after doing that would be to discard a joker, revealing to all that she was ready for mah-jongg. The 7D kong, in and of itself, doesn't give definitive information as to what the hand is, but the clue that she doesn't need that joker shows that she's waiting to complete a pair. So all players will be looking for a hand that can use a kong of sevens and a pair. It narrows down the possibilities, and everyone will know that 5D and 9D are among the hot tiles. Why give people that information needlessly? Pass on the 7D.

    What would Tom do with this:

    This is EXACTLY the same situation as #1. Different suit, yes. The lower version instead of the higher version, yes. Two jokers instead of three, yes. But the thinking is still exactly the same as I already stated above. I would pass on the 3C because it's unwise to give information. You're already waiting for mah-jongg. Don't give people clues.

    Any other advice about calling a discard and then discarding a joker?
    Perhaps. If there's a narrower question.

    Thanks for a great year of Mah Jongg columns and Q&A
    One of my new year's resolutions is to be a little better about keeping up with the columns. I probably won't do 52 columns, but still.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 31, 2011


    Is this a good vintage, part 2

    >From: Judy W
    >Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2011 10:13 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Thank you for your humor and thorough response. Why do any of us buy things we know nothing about? Good question. I love boxes, vintage, antque, etc. and have sold several sets in estate sales and just had the itch to buy one for myself. Will follow your prompts and do my homework. I really appreciate your response and will be more cautious with future purchases.
    >Best regards, judy

    Okay, Judy,
    Before you sell more sets, I recommend you read FAQ 7N.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 29, 2011


    Is this a good vintage?

    >From: Judy W
    >Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2011 7:58 AM
    >Subject: Emailing: vintage mah jong set 001.jpg, vintage mah jong set 002.jpg, vintage mah jong set 003.jpg, vintage mah jong set 004.jpg, vintage mah jong set 005.jpg, vintage mah jong set 006.jpg
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >This is my first experience at purchasing and I'm not sure the set is complete, if not I can return for refund. All appears to be complete except Winds, Dragons, Flowers? The numbers are not in sequence as shown in the example? Have pieces been added that don't belong? Only two dice, is that number correct. Everyone has started playing and enjoying the game and I hope to do so also.
    >Thank you so much for your expertise, judy

    Hi Judy, you wrote:

    This is my first experience at purchasing and I'm not sure the set is complete, if not I can return for refund.
    If you weren't sure if it was complete, buying it was inadvisable. You should have done your research before completing the sale. But let's move past that and find out why you bought it. Did you buy it as an antique? a decoration? a curiosity? a collectible? Those are the best reasons to buy one of these old sets.

    All appears to be complete except Winds, Dragons, Flowers?
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 7B. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).

    The numbers are not in sequence as shown in the example?
    What? All your craks are placed in the craks tray in sequence. Same for all your dots and all your bams. I see that the #2 flowers are out of sequence, but you can just lift them out, slide the #3 and #4 flowers down, and put the #2 flowers in sequence.
    Interestingly, the numeral 2s have a little serif on the bottom stroke, making them almost look like numeral 8s.
    But what does it have to do with anything if the person who organized the tiles in the trays didn't do it quite perfectly? Maybe I just don't know what your question is.

    Have pieces been added that don't belong?
    I don't see any in your photos. In addition to FAQ 7B, you should also read FAQ 7D and FAQ 7E.

    Only two dice, is that number correct.
    It depends on what your purpose is. Two is enough for playing. The set did originally come with more than that (you can see that there's room in the "coffin" for two more dice).

    Everyone has started playing and enjoying the game and I hope to do so also.
    Are you saying you bought this set for the purpose of playing with it? Plastic tiles are better than those old bone/bamboo tiles. I hope "everyone" isn't playing American mah-jongg, because if they are, you should have bought a modern American-style set. Read FAQ 7A. 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!

    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 29, 2011


    Mah-jongg hand for the Year of the Dragon

    >From: "cwalker67
    >Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 6:22 PM
    >Subject: Year of the Dragon Hand
    >Hi. Thanks for creating Year of the Rabbit Hand (EEE 2011 2012 WWW)...looking forward to your new creation of the Dragon hand.
    >Connie

    Hi Connie,
    Wow, I'm so glad somebody likes the yearly hand. The year of the Rabbit ends on Jan. 23, so I'll unveil the Year of the Dragon hand in a January column.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 28, 2011


    Graduation time, part 2

    >From: Berry Ed P
    >To: Joe Carl P
    >Cc: Danny F; Lee C
    >Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 10:38 AM
    >Subject: Re: Expansion on the question of what happens between rounds..
    >Sent from my iPad
    >On Oct 14, 2011, at 5:01 PM, Joe Carl P wrote:
    >Tom--
    >Under "Game Structure" in your wonderful simplified rules, you say "I don't want to complicate things by describing the way it's really done." Me and my partners have played it several ways (I'm 68, and have been playing since I was 12!), but we'd like to know how the Chinese really do it"it" meaning how the transition takes place from one prevailing wind to another. Please complicate things!
    >Thanks, and may the lucky dragons look favorably on you.
    >RegardsJoe Carl

    Hi Berry,
    If you had a follow-up question to my October reply, it wasn't included in your email.
    I'm not quite sure what you and your group are looking for. I don't know if you're looking for seat rotations or simple wind changes, or what. A wind change occurs when the deal has come back around to Original East (the person who was the first dealer when the game began). If a visible wind indicator is on the table, it's changed to show which wind it is now (E - S - W - N). Then the dealer deals. But if you want to rotate seats, too (which is really only done in MCR), that's another complication described in my book and in the free official rulebook that can be downloaded from the official ChinaMajiang website.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 28, 2011


    Gotta be in it to win it

    >From: Linda F
    >Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 6:46 PM
    >Subject: Question
    >Hi, Tom. Hope you are well and had good holidays.
    >The following scenario occurred:
    >Player A was out and was the bettor. The play began and at the end of the game Player A was out of the room. Player B won the game. The following exchange took place:
    >Player C: Who did she bet on?
    >Player D: I'll take a look. (looks at pad) She bet on player D.
    >Player A: (Coming into the room) Who won?
    >Player D: Player B.
    >Player A: I bet on player B, but I didn't write it down.
    >Player D and Player E: Then the bet doesn't count.
    >Whereupon all hell broke loose.
    >In my opinion the bet didn't count because it wasn't memorialized. Player A was miffed but paid player B. Later she stated she thought she shouldn't have had to pay the winner because she was out of the game and didn't bet. Your thoughts. (Although I have a good idea what they are. I promised I would get another opinion)
    >Ciao!
    >--
    >Linda
    >www.mahjblog.com

    Hi Linda.
    It only makes sense to use a pad like your group does, because as you say, that "memorializes" the bet so the bet can be verified and enforced. Your player A might well have collected on her bet if she'd been in the room, but all hell would have broken loose anyway when the next bettor used the pad and didn't see B's name on there. Player A would have had to give the money back, and pay to boot. The problem isn't that she was out of the room -- the problem is that she never wrote her bet down. She has to pay.
    This is opinion only, because there is no written rule from the NMJL on how to memorialize the bet. But it's only logical that when a pad is used, you gotta be in it or else you cannot win it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 27, 2011


    Asian tiles with strong noxious odor

    >From: Herbert B
    >Sent: Monday, December 26, 2011 11:43 AM
    >Subject: question about mah jongg tiles/odor
    >We hope you can help us. We bought a new mah jongg set from a local Asian market. The tiles are bright white with green layer on the bottom and are emitting a strong noxious odor. They came in a plastic case which we discarded as we thought the odor was coming from the case.
    > We have washed all of the tiles twice but they continue to emit an odor, especially when they are warm.
    >Do you have any idea what is going on or how to correct it?
    >Thank you,
    >Lorena B

    Hi Lorena,
    There is information about smelly plastic tiles in Frequently Asked Question 7o (seven oh, not seventy). Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). When you arrive on the FAQ 7o page, search the page (use Control-F if your computer is Windows, Command-F if it's a Mac) for words like "smell" or "odor." You'll find some tips there. 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

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 26, 2011


    Your wacky theory on black holes, part 2

    >From: Jeff
    >Sent: Saturday, December 24, 2011 1:29 PM
    >Subject: Re: Wacky Theory On Black Holes - Awesome
    >Thank you for your response. I would not mind at all having the postings published. Kinda neat actually.
    >I agree with everything you have said. The thing about the alternate universes in which you pass an exam or choose not to take it in another universe is a little crazy too. I assume what they mean is that over the course of infiniti every possible permutation of events have occurred. I can believe that but not the multiple universes at the same time. That seems a little whacky to me too.
    >Jeff


    Your wacky theory on black holes

    >From: Jeff
    >Sent: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 12:14 PM
    >Subject: Wacky Theory On Black Holes - Awesome
    >Tom,
    >I recently came across your theories on the relationship of black holes to big bangs. I have been thinking along very similar lines for quite a while. I have about the same credentials as you do in regard to mathematics and degrees.
    >
    >I think you would be able to expand on your insights in a couple of ways. I imagine that if we both think the same way, we would both agree on the expansions. Anyway, those theoretical physicists say that Einstein's theories breakdown at the singularity of a black hole.... something about a formulation that requires the radius to become 'zero' in size. I believe that the method of thinking we share answers that by simply pin pricking the space/time fabric and depositing the shredded particles of matter into another 'universe'. Afterall, the big bang was supposedly a bunch of non atoms that came together and formed a bunch of hydrogen and maybe some helium... but mainly hydrogen. It makes since that the atoms would have to be torn apart due to the amount of black hole intensity it would cause to pin prick the fabric, it would make sense that the hole would be easiest to make the smaller it was. A hole twice as big might need twice as much energy or maybe something exponentially larger. Who knows.
    >
    >I actually visuallize this as a kinda hourglass. The point at the middle being the singularity.
    >
    >I have a theory about the whole thing I would want to run by you. I am not so sure that the black hole will deposit the matter into another universe (maybe a semantic thing but stay with me). If time breaks down to a large degree, couldn't the black hole simply put the matter in another time or another area in the same universe? I think of it like this.... the odds that two black holes will form 'big bangs' in the same area would be much less likely than two bullets, being fired from the moon, aimed out of our solar system in different directions, and them eventually hitting each other intact.
    >
    >Anyway, just thought I would send you an email and see what you thought.
    >Jeff

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for your email.
    I think your analogy of the singularity being a pinprick in the universe makes sense. From what I have heard from physicists like Brian Greene on PBS lately, it may be that pinprick holes in spacetime occur all the time at the quantum level.

    And your idea that black holes aren't gateways to other universes is quite sensible; they might instead be pockets in the spacetime of our universe. Or maybe a pocket in our universe is the same thing as another universe.

    Those PBS shows about recent work on this has made me see that the physicists are also considering these sorts of possibilities, so it appears that these ideas aren't as wacky as I'd originally posited them.

    I don't buy the quantum time thing, though - that another universe branches off if a person decides to skip a school exam, making two versions of him with different lives after that branching off point.

    But other multiple-universe ideas do make sense. But the thought that our universe's laws are so finely tuned as to permit our universe to exist implies that there are other universes where the laws are different thus preventing the existence of stars there...? Not so sure about that one. If there are other universes, the fact that ours exists isn't (of itself) proof of their existence. Maybe the same laws apply in all universes.

    I hope you don't mind that I post this on my bulletin board, since that's what I do with all correspondence that comes through my website (except business correspondence and correspondence of close friends). I'm not showing your last name, since past correspondents have requested that level of privacy.

    Tom Sloper - Game Development Consultant
    - Sloperama Productions. Services for game developers and publishers; "Making Games Fun, And Getting Them Done." http://www.sloperama.com/business.html
    - Faculty, Video Games, Information Technology Program, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California. http://itp.usc.edu
    - Helpful information and bulletin boards for game industry hopefuls. http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html
    - The Mah-Jongg FAQs. Information and bulletin boards about the game of mah-jongg. http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq.html
    - Author of The Red Dragon &The West Wind, the definitive book on official Chinese & American mah-jongg.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 24, 2011


    Parenthetical inconsistency

    >From: Bob G
    >Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2011 8:09 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I find the card to be logical, but the info in the parenthesis seems inconsistent. To play correctly I wish to know how these 2 hands relate.
    >FFFF 2222 0000 11 (any 2 and 1, same suit) seems clear, but the clarification confuses me as I would expect to find that same suit clarification on the entry below.
    >FFFF 1111 2222 DD (any 2 consecutive nos.) does not specify same suit for the consecutive numbers. I assume that the lack of clarification does not change the normal interpretation and that this combination of numbers must still be in a single suit. Is that correct? If not, please clarify.
    >Thanks,
    >Bob

    Hi Bob,
    The difference is that one hand has dragons, but the other hand has zeroes. Dragons are suit tiles but zeroes are suitless. In the case of the Consecutive hand, the fact that there's only one color of ink clearly tells the player "one suit," so parenthetical wording would be superfluous. But in the case of the 2011 hand, the presence of the white dragons ("soaps") could potentially confuse some new players who might think that the hand would have to be in dots, which of course it doesn't have to be. In my opinion, the parenthetical wording used on that hand is superfluous, but there are a lot of players who might think the wrong thing otherwise, so the League chose to add the wording to that hand for their benefit.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 23, 2011


    What's up with the column?

    >From: Lynn H
    >Sent: Friday, December 23, 2011 9:33 AM
    >Subject: weekly column
    >Hey, Tom,
    >Hope all's well with you. I've been missing your weekly column. What's the latest?
    >Happy Holidays,
    >Lynn from Michigan

    Hi Lynn,
    I haven't been doing the column weekly of late. I explained myself to Coyla and Nancy below. I'm actually working on an end-of-year column or two right now.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 23, 2011


    Bakelite HK set, part 2

    >From: Victoria R
    >Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2011 7:38 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >1. I said vintage as I believe the set is over 40 years old. Not sure why I think that except that it belonged to my aunt and she's been gone for over 20 years.
    >2. The tiles are in very good condition. They are two-tone, a deep butterscotch color with a green back. The case is not in as good condition but it is serviceable The corners and edges are worn but the stitching is holding. The rules books-there are 4 of them-are in good condition. The green covers are faded somewhat but the paper is in good condition, not torn etc. There is no ugly smell coming from the set. I believe is was stored properly. As to how much use it got, I do not know.
    >3. Due to the butterscotch color I thought the tiles were bakelite but apparently it could be some other plastic.
    >4.I don't know, nor does my cousin, when the set was purchased. My aunt and uncle traveled widely and perhaps bought it in Hong Kong. Two of the rules books have "made in Hong Kong" stamped on the back cover.
    >5.The dimension of the tiles is 1.5"x 1" by .625
    >6. I believe the set is complete with 144 tiles and 3 extra blank ones. There are 8 flower tiles and 4 bird tiles. I do not play so I am unfamiliar with all of the terms.
    >7. The other pieces in the set are 2 dice and a rotatable wind disk with a window that shows the letter E, a Chinese character and the numbers 2,3 4. There are 4 lavender chips, 40 red chips and 16 green chips. There are no jokers.
    >8. I will send the pictures actual size. I may have to do that in a couple of emails.
    >I hope this is enough information for you. Thanks.
    >Victoria

    Hi Victoria,
    Okay, then. So "vintage" means "40 years old or older." (I don't know if something 38 years old is "vintage" or not, but now I understand your terminology well enough.) I suppose your set could be 40 years old.
    So, then, the case's condition is "fair." And the condition of the case's innards is "good" to "very good." That particular rulebook is very common and isn't worth anything to collectors. I don't remember for sure if that is one of the infamous "Chinglish" books (written in such fractured language that it's nearly incomprehensible).
    The absence of Western indices means that the set was made for use in Asia, or for Asian-speaking communities.
    The size of the tiles is consistent with Hong Kong.
    Read FAQs 7B and 7E.
    Read FAQ 7D.
    To answer your original questions, the set could be anywhere from 30 to 50 years old (possibly as young as 20 years old). And coincidentally its value is anywhere from $30 to $50. It is not useful for players who cannot read the Chinese markings, and it is not useful for players of American-style mah-jongg.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 23, 2011


    Bakelite HK set

    >From: Victoria N R
    >Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2011 9:26 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have a vintage two-tone bakelite set with 144 tiles and 3 blank extras. There are no racks but many chips and 2 dice. It is in a card board box. There are no manufacturers marks that I can see. The rule books that are also in the set have a price written in pencil on them that varies from $ .40-$ .60. From your description it looks as though this is a Hong Kong set which would have been inexpensive when purchased. Can you tell me the approximate age and value? I am enclosing pictures. Thank you very much.
    >Victoria R

    Hi Victoria, you wrote:

    I have a vintage
    I don't know what "vintage" means to you, Victoria. Care to define the term for me?

    bakelite set
    The yellow color doesn't mean the set is Bakelite. More likely polyethylene, if it really is Hong Kong style as you said. Read FAQ 7C3.

    From your description it looks as though this is a Hong Kong set
    It would be helpful if you would explain what factors led you to that conclusion.

    which would have been inexpensive when purchased.
    Maybe, maybe not.

    Can you tell me the approximate age
    I can only give you a range, and only after you've provided more information (as specified by my other questions in this reply).

    and value?
    No. You have not given me enough information. I need to know all the information in FAQ 7H, especially condition of the set and case and paper materials, and size of the tiles.

    I am enclosing pictures.
    Very small pictures*, and none showing the case or the paper materials you mentioned. Not good enough.
    * When I post pictures on this board, I post them at the size you sent me, for good reasons. But if you want me to give you information, you need to send me better pictures.

    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 22, 2011


    Same question

    >From: "EdieReedy
    >Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 11:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I thought I had previously read where you could call a discard, not a joker, "same" if the person before you had just discarded it. If you did, where can I find the answer?
    >Thanks

    Hello Edie,
    I don't know where you'd read that, and it's too much trouble to try to find out where it might be written. So how about I just tell you the answer instead.
    It's encouraged to say "same" because the practice encourages other players to keep their eyes open, not only their ears.
    But I expect there's an interesting reason for your question. (That the reason for your question is more interesting than the question or its answer.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    12/20/2011


    G'day

    >From: Graham G
    >Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 10:26 AM
    >Subject: 1920's MAHJONG SET
    >Hello Tom,
    >Browsing (from Australia) the web for information on AUTHENTIC 1920 MAHJONG SET.
    >Came across your very interesting and detailed website relating to Mahjong sets.
    >Have you any contact in Australia regarding these sets.
    >I have an original 1920's Ivory/bamboo Mah Jong set made by Ye Tai Ziang Ivory Co., No 22 New Northgate, Inside City, Shanghai, China, which belonged to my parents.
    >My parents came from England in 1922. They may have acquired it on the way to Australia from England. SEE ATTACHED.
    >It is similar to the one on display of the Last Chinese Emperor possessions in the Forbbiden City.
    >It has an original instructional book from the maker giving directions for playing 'Ma-Joe" ( I do not know how that differs from 'Mah-Jong')
    >I also have a 1924 book giving the rules for playing Mah Jong according to the rules of The Queen's Club, London.
    >I assume all the pieces are there. It has not been used in over 60 years as far as I know
    >The front slide up door of the cabinet has damage to it.
    >A small section of the top of the insert panel is missing and the corner joints have come loose.
    >I would like to get it restored.
    >But do not know a skilled craftsman in Chinese woodwork.
    >I am interested to sell it but need to get an idea of a price and where I could sell it, maybe into the Chinese community.
    >If you have any ideas or information, I would appreciate hearing from you.
    >Regards,
    >Graham

    G'day, Graham. You wrote:

    Have you any contact in Australia regarding these sets.
    I don't know what it is you're trying to find out with that question, Graham.

    I have an original 1920's Ivory/bamboo Mah Jong set
    It doesn't look like ivory to me. You would need to perform the Is It Ivory checklist. Read FAQ 7C and FAQ 7C2. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    made by Ye Tai Ziang Ivory Co.
    That doesn't mean it's ivory. A lot of mah-jongg manufacturers in the 1920s used the term "ivory" very loosely.

    They may have acquired it on the way to Australia from England.
    Or they may have acquired it in England before moving. Or they may have acquired it in Australia after moving.

    It is similar to the one on display of the Last Chinese Emperor possessions in the Forbbiden City.
    Big deal. A lot of sets are similar. Yours has western indices in the corners of the tiles. I doubt that the one in the emperor's palace has those.

    It has an original instructional book from the maker giving directions for playing 'Ma-Joe"
    I wouldn't be so quick as to leap to the conclusion that that booklet and the set are by the same maker. Does the book reside easily in the box, perhaps atop the bottom drawer?

    I also have a 1924 book giving the rules for playing Mah Jong according to the rules of The Queen's Club, London.
    I see that. I have one of those books too. It might indicate that the set came from the UK, not from Australia or somewhere en route.

    I would like to get it restored.
    >But do not know a skilled craftsman in Chinese woodwork.
    You might try antique restorers, or furniture repairmen or cabinet makers -- and you should read FAQ 7o (seven oh, not seventy).

    I am interested to sell it but need to get an idea of a price
    I can help you with that if you give me the information I need; read FAQ 7H.

    and where I could sell it
    The usual place is eBay. I would advise you to avoid any unsupportable, untruthful, or exaggerated claims in your sales writeup (like saying it's just like the Emperor's, or that it's ivory, for instance). Read FAQ 7N.

    maybe into the Chinese community.
    No Chinese person is likely to want it, except for museum use. The Chinese superstition is that an old mah-jongg set carries all the bad joss of past players' losses. And besides, the Chinese like those big plastic tiles. Much easier to handle and read. Chinese players don't need those little hard-to-stack curved-back tiles or the little Western indices, or the outmoded rules in your rule books, or a fixer-upper antique box.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 19, 2011


    FAQ 19AF

    >From: sgabramson
    >Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2011 4:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: While it is my turn I call a tile for
    >exposure I put it up on the rack for exposure but then realize that I put too
    >many up As I hadn't thrown out my last tile on my turn am I allowed to correct
    >my mistake and take a tile from the exposure and put it back in my hand?

    Welcome to my website, sgabramson. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19AF. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 18, 2011


    Scoring kong hands in MCR

    >From: "puppykitty2010
    >Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2011 7:48 PM
    >Subject: Perhaps a clearer way for three or four kong hands in Chinese Official mahjong?
    >These examples consider all pung/kong hands:
    >Already known fan:
    >Melded kong - 1
    >Concealed kong - 2
    >Two melded kongs - 4
    >One melded and one concealed kong - 6
    >Two concealed kongs - 8
    >From this point it's obvious that a concealed kongs are double the score of melded kongs. However it's not known how to properly count three or four concelead kongs.
    >My simple solution would be to also double the scores for 3 and 4 concealed kong hands.
    >3 Concealed Kongs = 64 (32 + 32) rather than 58 (3 kongs + 3cp + 2ck + 1ck)
    >4 Concealed Kongs = 176 (88+88) rather than 168 (4 kongs + 4cp + [2 x 2ck]). For the 176 points, 4 CP should be implied and thus not added.
    >3CK + 1CP = 128 (32 for 3K + 32 for 3CK + 64 for 4CP)
    >I don't know whether the World Mahjong Organization will want to either add extra fan to the 81 already committed or clarify scoring for such concealed hands.
    >This letter may be forwarded to others.

    Hello puppykitty, you wrote:

    Perhaps a clearer way for three or four kong hands in Chinese Official mahjong?
    At first I thought you were saying this was a way to achieve these hands. But now I'm thinking you are talking about how they should be scored, when/if achieved.

    it's not known how to properly count three or four concelead kongs.
    There was quite a discussion about this on the mahjong newsgroup, several years ago when newsgroups were popular and the mahjong newsgroup was in vogue. I tried looking through my computer just now to find a record of that. I couldn't find the actual discussion thread, but I did find this result:

      3CK and 1MK will be scored as Four Kongs and Three Concealed Pungs;
      4CK will be scored as Four Kongs and Four Concealed Pungs;

    That was from a 2006 email from a friend in China, and I take it that it's definitive. I may have kept that file and not the whole thread just so as not to confuse myself.

    I don't know whether the World Mahjong Organization will want to either add extra fan to the 81 already committed or clarify scoring for such concealed hands.
    Well, if you want to ask them, the organization's email address is ChinaMajiang at yahoo.com.cn (as per the official ChinaMajiang website: http://www.chinamajiang.com).

    This letter may be forwarded to others.
    My free services here do not include my acting as a messenger for anonymous strangers.* If you do have more to tell me or to ask me on this topic, you're more than welcome to write again.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 17, 2011

    * (I do not recall having previously gotten emails before from a puppykitty#### - my apologies if I've forgotten you and we'd previously had a friendly correspondence.)


    Interested in learning Wright-Patterson mah-jongg

    >From: Anna Womack
    >Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2011 8:30 AM
    >Subject: Infromation about Mah Jong
    >Good morning,
    >Several friends and I are interested in learning Wright-Patterson mah jong. We live in Petaluma, Ca. Can you give us information on teachers and places where W-P is played in our area? Thanks for your help.
    >Anna Womack,
    >silverlady57_us@yahoo.com

    Hi Anna,
    I posted your question on the Find Players bulletin board, which I recommend you peruse. If there's anybody who knows Wright-Patterson rules in your area, they might find you there -- and you should look through the board to see if you can find anyone who's already posted. You should also read FAQ 4A and FAQ 15. You can click on the FAQs links above left. Good luck with your quest!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 17, 2011


    My tile-matching game don't match

    >From: Charlyn
    >Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2011 7:36 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I'm touching the matching tiles but they don't disappear. How do I make them go?
    >Sent from my iPad

    Hello Charlyn,
    I perceive that you are asking about a mah-jongg tile-matching game, possibly one that plays on an iPad. Since I have no idea what product you are playing, much less have I played that product myself, I can only suggest that you:
    1. Find out if the game has a Help feature or a built-in tutorial, and use it; or
    2. Contact the product's manufacturer and ask them for instructions.
    Good luck with that!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 15, 2011


    Called dead at a tournament

    >From: carol s
    >Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 2:09 PM
    >Subject: mah
    >Tom a player called someone dead at a tournament but she was not dead......what is the penalty?
    >thanks Carol

    Hello Carol,
    It depends. Most tournaments announce rules at the beginning, and/or have printed rules provided to the players at the beginning. You should always call a judge over when this kind of question arises in a tournament. Many tournaments use a death penalty for an erroneous death challenge, since normal non-tournament rules are payment-based rather than score-based. So, maybe the penalty is that an erroneous death challenge results in death for the challenger, but even so, it can't be proved until the hand is completed, meaning if the challengee denies she's dead, she keeps playing (unless a judge confirms she's dead and tells her not to keep playing).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 12, 2011


    The 2012 cards

    >From: linda1
    >Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 8:22 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >When are the 2012 cards available for purchase

    Hello Linda,
    I assume you are asking about the National Mah Jongg League's 2012 card. You can order it now, but it'll be sent out at the end of March.
    If you are asking about any other organization's card, the AMJA and Marvelous Mah Jongg cards are usually available in January. You can probably advance-order now. See FAQ 4a for information about contacting those organizations.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 12, 2011


    What's the significance of 10,000?

    >From: Rowley K
    >Sent: Sunday, December 11, 2011 11:32 AM
    >Subject: MJ question
    >Hi Tom,
    >In your book, "The Red Dragon & the West Wind," you mention that the red Chinese character on the bottom of each crak is the number 10,000. What is the significance of 10,000?
    >As a side note: I started playing Mah Jongg four weeks ago with my friends who had just finished taking lessons. But it appears as if I now know more about the game, its history and the rules because of all the time I've spent on your websites and reading your book along with a couple of others. I've become the go-to expert on rules for my group. What a kick. I look forward to playing more so I can truly become a good player and not just someone who knows the rules.
    >Thanks for making it so much fun.
    >Kim R

    Hi Kim,
    Thanks for the tale of how my book has made you the go-to expert! Great stuff.
    The number 10,000 traditionally signifies "really really big number" to the Chinese. It sort of fills the place that 1,000,000 signifies to us here.
    Take a look at page 2 of my book. Read about the money-suited cards. "Myriads of cash" is "bunches of strings of coins" or "10,000." The suits of mah-jongg go back to the suits of money cards.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 11, 2011


    Is the tile down, part 2

    >From: Fern D
    >To: [6 EMAIL ADDRESSES DELETED]
    >Sent: Thursday, December 8, 2011 11:19 AM
    >Subject: (No subject)
    >[URL DELETED]

    Fern,
    It appears that your email account has been hacked. You should log into your email and change your password immediately.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 8, 2011


    FAQ 19AC

    >From: Ellie
    >Sent: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 2:52 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I was playing a hand and exposed in error. I declared myself dead. One of the other players said I was wrong to declare myself dead because Icould have gone on to play another hand. Was I wrong or was it my privilege to declare myself dead if I chose to? Ellie

    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answer, I have compiled all my frequently given answers into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask newcomers to explore before writing to me. Please read Frequently Asked Question 19AC. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Pearl Harbor Day, 2011


    New columns, part 2

    >From: Coyla M
    >Sent: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 9:22 PM
    >Subject: Re: Internet site????
    >Hi Tom,
    >I miss the Weekly Strategy Column. As a beginner, I have learned so much from you column about the different ways of looking to build a hand. I especially enjoyed the "Charleston", WWYD, WWYP, and Defense. As you can see, I just liked it all and miss the weekly challenge. You have no idea how much you columns helped give me confidence to hang in there as a beginner. I am looking forward to more challenging columns when time allows. Coyla

    Hi Coyla,
    I especially appreciate what you said: "You have no idea how much you columns helped give me confidence to hang in there as a beginner." I'll take those words to heart.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Pearl Harbor Day, 2011


    Check it out, is it ivory?

    >From: Anne Bryan
    >Sent: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 6:54 PM
    >Subject: Check out my mah jongg set
    >Hi Tom san,
    >I know this is not the right format, but at the moment I cannot do it.
    >I purchased this set in lewes England.
    >It appears to be ivory, but with the Chinese who the heck knows?
    >It has 144 pieces:
    >24 winds
    >36 dots, craks and bams
    >4 blanks
    >4 white dragons
    >4 green dragons
    >4 red dragons
    >4 characters
    >2 dice that may be unrelated
    >Sent from my iPhone

    Hi Anne, you wrote:

    It appears to be ivory
    I can't speak for the majority of your tiles, because the photos are not focused. But the four blank tiles are definitely not ivory. Just read FAQ 7C2 and you'll see clearly that they are not ivory.

    24 winds
    I do not see any extra wind tiles in any of your photos.

    36 dots, craks and bams
    I don't see your One Bams. You've decided that the odd white tiles with six tiny dots are your One Bams, but the photo of the tiles in box seems to have some tiles that you are not telling me about. Maybe flowers, maybe One Bams. What you need to do is arrange all your tiles like this:

    Doing this arrangement, with an understanding of FAQ 7B and 7E, should clarify things as to what tiles you have in your set.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Pearl Harbor Day, 2011


    Frequently Asked Question 19AY

    >From: Pearl W
    >Sent: Monday, December 5, 2011 4:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: If a player miscalls a tile and someone calls the incorrect tile for exposure, what happens?

    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19AY. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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!
    Also please read column 353. You can get to the columns by clicking the purple banner above.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 2, 2011


    Material of the tiles, part 3

    >From: terry m
    >Sent: Monday, December 5, 2011 4:30 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah Jong Set Evaluation
    >Thanks, Tom


    Material of the tiles, part 2

    >From: terry m
    >Sent: Monday, December 5, 2011 2:07 PM
    >Subject: Missed This Picture
    >Tom :
    >neglected to attached picture of booklet .... here it is
    >Terry

    Hi Terry,
    Okay. I found it in my spam folder, not sure why the email program put it there. Still a $50 set of recent origin, IMO.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 5, 2011


    Material of the tiles is unknown

    >From: terry m
    >Sent: Monday, December 5, 2011 2:05 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong Set Evaluation
    >Tom :
    >Hello & thanks for hosting such an informative site.
    >I have recently acquired (antique shop) a set about which I should like to know age, tile material and possible market value. Attached are several small (as you request) jpg files.
    >The set has 144 total tiles, a small minng, six dice and chips, but no counters and no wind disks. There is a booklet, as shown.
    >It is in a paper box, the lid of which folds open (as shown).
    >Each tile measures 1 1/2" x 1 7/8" and each tile is just a touch over 3/4" tall (all the same material, solid).
    >The pieces are in very good / excellent condition and some of the paper interior trays are still in their original wrapper. The box measures 13" x
    >9 1/2". There is no date on the booklet. The chips and dice seem to be plastic, but are still wrapped. Material of the tiles is unknown.
    >The box looks older, the tiles look "older", but the chips & dice seem plastic & modern. Could this be a mixed set? In the box also when I bought it were five, unrelated "poker dice", which I think are bakelite.
    >Can you help?
    >Thanks
    >Terry M


    Hi Terry, you asked:

    Age
    Can't say for sure. As a guess, I'd say 1970s-1980s. I could be off by a decade or more (the tiles could be well younger than that, since big thick tiles are a fairly recent thing).

    tile material
    Some kind of plastic, but I don't know the name.

    possible market value
    That's hard to say, because you haven't given me enough information. I have no idea what the paper manual looks like or what the box looks like, and I don't have a statement from you as to the condition of the box. But I'd have to say the set is probably not very valuable. Most likely under $50.

    Additionally:
    - You say there's a "minng" but no wind disc. You do have a wind indicator, but no mingg. A mingg is a cylindrical container for small wind discs. The rotatable disc you do have is functionally the same thing as the wind discs. See FAQ 7D.
    - The poker dice are a separate thing, and do not belong with the mah-jongg set. You should take them out of the set.
    - You say there are no counters, but you do have a roll of poker chips. Those are functionally the same thing. Bone sticks would not be expected to ever have been part of this set. Those chips might well be original to the tiles, but it is possible they were added later. Hard to tell.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 5, 2011


    New columns?

    >From: Coyla M
    >Sent: Monday, December 5, 2011 12:31 PM
    >Subject: Internet site????
    >Hi Tom,
    > I'm new to Mah Jong and I was told about your website. I really enjoy reading all you have to say about the game and I find it all very intriguing. Are you going to be adding new weekly columns? I find them most helpful. Thanks, Coyla

    Hi Coyla,
    The columns have been in a dry spell for a while, partly because I'm not sure where I should put my focus. Tell me, which type of column has been most helpful for you? Which type of column would you most like me to write?
    I am working on one at present, but I'm also working through final exams at the university where I teach about video games, so I'm not guaranteeing that column #500 will go up right away.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 5, 2011


    Is the tile down? Is it too late to take it back?

    >From: Fern D
    >Sent: Monday, December 5, 2011 10:35 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: If I call a tile to discard ( or say 6 cra...) and do not put it on the table as I notice that I can replace it for a joker, must I still discard it, or can I take the joker?

    Hello Fern,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19A. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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!
    Also please read column 353. You can get to the columns by clicking the purple banner above.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 5, 2011


    Rare 1905 set

    >From: SHORT Amanda
    >Sent: Monday, December 5, 2011 7:48 AM
    >Subject: Is this rare as 1905?
    >Hi
    >I wonder if you can help me. I have a Mah-Jongg (spelt as such) set that my Uncle has left me. It is traditional metal edged wooden box with slide out draws and the front slides up. I have worked out from your wonderful website that it is bone and bamboo. I have the little pot made of horn with just one disk in it and also I have bone sticks and dice. The instructions are by Jackpot and the price was 2d from a shop in the north of England (sorry not in front of ma at present) However on the front of the box (the bit that slides open) it has a silver shield with the silver hall mark of K prancing lion and then I think a shield or leopard head. I believe this would make it from 1905. Could you give me any idea what it is worth please. It does have one tile missing. Thank you very much and I look forward to hearing back from you
    >Amanda Short

    Hello Amanda, you asked:

    Is this rare
    I don't know, Amanda. I can't see it. My psychic eye is not working today.

    Is it from 1905
    I don't know how you figure a K with a lion and a leopard means it's from 1905. I would need to see the tiles.

    What is it worth
    I don't know, Amanda. You haven't given me enough information. See FAQ 7H and give me the information I need.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 5, 2011


    A situation we never confronted before

    >From: Janet and David D
    >Sent: Sunday, December 4, 2011 11:54 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >This is a situation we have never confronted before nor was I able to find an answer on my own.
    >Q. A discard is called, let's say a 4 bam and caller displays a pung of 4 bams, but it is still her turn. She has a suit tile allowing her to claim a joker from another player's rack and then adds the joker to her pung making it a 4 bam kong and then discards. We all know you cannot add or subtract to or from an exposure, but this all occurred during her turn prior to discarding. Is this legal? Some said yes, some said no so we would appreciate your opinion.
    >Thanks,
    >Janet in Arizona

    Hello Janet, you wrote:

    She... then adds the joker to her pung making it a 4 bam kong
    She is not permitted to do that. Read FAQ 19M. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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.

    We all know you cannot add or subtract to or from an exposure, but this all occurred during her turn prior to discarding. Is this legal?
    Actually, you are permitted to add to or subtract from an exposure, prior to discarding. But you are not permitted to make an incomplete exposure from a discard.

    I imagine some people might see an inconsistency in these two rules, but it comes down to intent -- to being able to "afford" to "buy" that exposure before you make the purchase. There is no "credit" in mah-jongg. There is no "buy now, pay later" in mah-jongg. It's all "cash up front."

    The rule permitting adding to or subtracting from an exposure is to give the player who does have the wherewithal a chance to correct a temporary oversight. If I call a discard, I might expose two tiles along with it, then realize I'd forgotten that the hand requires me to expose a kong, not a pung -- then I can add a joker from my hand. Note the operative phrase "from my hand" -- that joker on the other player's rack is not in my hand.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 5, 2011


    What advice, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Saturday, December 3, 2011 6:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: RE: my email of 12/3 "What advice would you give her?" If it is weird to pass a player 3 different suits of ones, which of the 3's would you pass? Why would passing all ones be weird? I have had players pass me 3 of the same number of different suits and have been able to use at least one of them. My Mah Jongg group is composed of 13 longtime players who are regulars so there is no question of their being asked back again to play no matter how slowly they play. Maybe I could borrow a stop watch what's the suggested time to pick a tile and then make a discard? I could send out an email mentioning a suggested time between picking and discarding. Thanks for your help again and again. Lynn P

    Hi Lynn, you wrote:

    which of the 3's would you pass?
    I wouldn't. I would pass the ones, even if it is weird.

    Why would passing all ones be weird?
    In my group, eyebrows would be raised. If I passed three ones in a tournament, I'd be hearing about it again later, I expect. But even knowing that, if I had the hand your player had, I'd pass them anyway.

    Maybe I could borrow a stop watch what's the suggested time to pick a tile and then make a discard?
    That's for you and your group to decide. I believe I wrote somewhere about sand timers. Oh yes, there it is. Read column 375.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 3, 2011


    They said you said this weird thing

    >From: Ursula J
    >Sent: Saturday, December 3, 2011 4:27 PM
    >Subject: Ruling question
    >Hello,
    >A player exposed 3 7bams on her rack, as well as 2 greens with a joker. She then proceeded to take her own joker back, but instead of putting up a green, she put up an East tile. She was declared dead by her fellow players. (I was not at their table and not called over, so I did not witness this.) One of the players argued that the joker was this viable, even the the (dead) player had it in her rack and instead of the joker the East tile was up. Several players were asked what the ruling was, and all but that one woman agreed that she was dead and the joker could not be had by anybody. The lady who insisted that the joker was to be had, mentioned your name several times and she was absolutely certain that you ruled on this. I was unable to find this particular scenario on your website, so I am asking you directly.
    >I appreciate it.
    >Ursula J

    Hi Ursula,
    It's very weird to insist that a tile that's been put into someone's rack should be available for anybody to claim and redeem. The very reason the lady went dead was because she removed the joker from play. Let's go over that again: The joker was removed from play, then the lady went dead. The joker is still out of play (in the dead player's rack). Then people were saying that the removed joker was still in live play?? Of course I never said any such thing.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 3, 2011


    What advice would you give her?

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Saturday, December 3, 2011 8:01 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Playing American Mah Jongg yesterday a player was dealt these tiles: 3 jokers, 2 9 dots, 2 9 bams, 1 9 crak, 1 1crak, 1 1 bam, 1 1 dot, 1 3 crak, 1 3 bam. She just could not decide what to discard on first right pass. She told us she had all 1's and 9's and some 3's but didn't mention the jokers. Too bad I didn't have my timer with me! What advice would you give her in retrospect? I would have kept the 9's and 3's and hoped for dragons or 6's and more jokers! I guess I will have to tape my timer to my "RD&WW" book. Thanks, Lynn

    I would advise her, "keep the game moving! It is more important to avoid disruption of the game than it is to win. If you want to be invited back to play again, you need to keep the game moving. It can't all be about you. The other players want to enjoy the game, too... and they outnumber you."

    But I suppose, since you gave me a tile-by-tile description of her hand, that is not what you're asking me. You're asking what she should have passed (note: very important -- "pass" is the right word here, not "discard;" no discarding occurs during the Charleston).

    This is either Like Numbers or 369. The ones are useless. The only reason not to pass the ones all at once is that it will look weird to the player who receives them.

    Don't get all hung up on defense in the first right. Yes, the receiver might get something of value out of these, but the passer gets much more out of it: she gets to remove a lot of stinky red herrings and clarify her thinking, she gets a strong offensive start, and she will get three tiles that could cement a direction or at least give her something else to pass across.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 3, 2011


    What is this "mush," you husky?

    >From: JEAN B
    >To: webmaster@sloperama
    >Sent: Friday, December 2, 2011 3:58 PM
    >Subject: unknown term "mushing"
    >Please see attachment
    >To: webmaster@sloperama
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: A player said that in her game after the optional pass her group does "mushing". Is this a valid term? She describes it as such: each player puts 1,2,or 3 tiles that they do not want, face down on the table middle. They are scrambled or "mushed" and then you are allowed to take out the number of tiles that you contributed. ( I thought mush was what you said to sled dogs.) I have never seen this term written in any rules.

    Hello Jean, you wrote:

    Is this a valid term?
    You'll have to define "valid" for me.

    They are scrambled or "mushed" and then you are allowed to take out the number of tiles that you contributed.
    I've heard that called a "mish." I've never encountered a group that actually did it, though.

    I thought mush was what you said to sled dogs.
    Oh? I always thought mush meant "slop" or "hogwash" or "boiled cornmeal" or "mawkish sentimentality one sees in chick flicks."

    I have never seen this term written in any rules.
    That's good, because you shouldn't see it written in any rules. Read FAQ 14 and learn about table rules. Click the FAQs link above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 2, 2011


    They got upset when I stopped the Charleston

    >From: Vivien S
    >Sent: Friday, December 2, 2011 1:14 PM
    >Subject: Courtesy pass after stopping Charleston
    >Hi,
    >I recently stopped the Charleston after the first set. I then offered 3 tiles in the courtesy pass. The other players felt that if I had three unwanted tiles I should not have halted the passing. What is the ruling on this? Many thanks.

    Hello Vivien, welcome to my website. You wrote:

    The other players felt
    Feelings have nothing to do with the rules! Your group needs to have a rulebook handy for when questions arise. Besides, are you really surprised that your group's hackles were raised? It's "bad enough" when somebody stops the Charleston, and then you put salt on the wound when you had 3 tiles to trade. In case you haven't noticed, mah-jongg players can get touchy sometimes.

    What is the ruling on this?
    You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answer, I have compiled all my frequently given answers into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask newcomers to explore before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19AG. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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!

    I also recommend you read column 494. The columns can be gotten to easily by clicking the purple banner above.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 2, 2011


    Filipino mah-jongg

    >From: Joseph Smith
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 6:42 PM
    >Subject: Filipino Mahjong, continued
    >Hello Mr. Sloper, thanks again for all your mahjong work. In my quest to find the answer to how mahjong is played in the Philippines, I found another website describing how the author knows how to play.http://gingsbrain.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-to-play-filipino-mahjong.html
    >And also there's this magazine article on Filipino mahjong: http://philippinesfreepress.com.ph/?p=154
    >The mention of the extra points for winning, and the curious jai alai are referenced in the article. I can vouch for the popularity it had there, my neighbor mentioning he played for 24 hours straight in the Philippines on one occasion, and he knows of people who played for 2 days straight.
    >Joseph Smith

    Joseph,
    Thanks so much for those awesome links. I'll add those to the FAQs right away. Great stuff!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 1, 2011


    Link to add to FAQs

    >From: William Hostman
    >Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2011 2:10 PM
    >Subject: addition for FAQ 5
    >In re http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq05.html
    >There is a downloadable non-"match-two" for the US market entitled "Zimo Mahjong Fanatic" for the Nintendo DSi - it isn't actually "real" Mahjong, but does use mah jongg scoring - chous and pungs through level 4 (as far as I've played), and appears to be an excellent trainer for seeing traditional oriental scoring (including hand bonuses. Information page at: http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/kU5S1YsV_xjWstBuo7bRG3N5i-Ye65Td
    >I'm NOT affiliated with them. But it's an interesting "neither here nor there" game which is good for teaching real Mah Jongg scoring.

    Hi William,
    Thanks for the tip. Since this is not actually real mah-jongg, I added the link to FAQ 12 rather than FAQ 5. I may need to get a new Nintendo... (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 28, 2011


    Help me with my automatic mahjong table

    >From: ...Lawrasari"
    >Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2011 7:11 PM
    >Subject: automatic mahjong table troubleshoot
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was wondering if you can help me with my automatic mahjong table.
    >It is similar to the one in the YouTube video below. The problem is the middle control panel kept going up and down before getting stuck with error -2.
    >We've checked the bottom and it all seems fine. We actually won this table from a jackpot machine so there is no guarantee for this or any other contact person. Are you able to help advice? Thank you.
    >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uot6vyVNyuo&list=PL0C4DAEA19202DD69&index=1&feature=plpp_video
    >Regards
    >Lawra

    Hi Lawra,
    I didn't follow your link and look at your video. I think it sounds like a classic button malfunction. The button that raises or lowers the central console "sticks." That's what it sounds like to me. You may need to see if you can get inside the button and find out what causes it to stick. Knowing that, the solution should come to you. Good luck!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Thanksgiving, 2011


    Couldn't find the FAQ on the hot wall/cold wall rule

    >From: Lehman Linda
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 8:12 AM
    >Subject: The "final" wall
    >Hope you're enjoying a nice holiday weekend!
    >I played Mah Jongg many, many years ago and am in process of reviving my memory to begin playing again. Your sites, FAQs, etc. have been immensely helpful! I've searched for the answer to this specific question to no avail: What is the purpose of the 'final' wall...is it treated differently in terms of play?
    >I've heard that when the game reaches the 'final' wall, it's been referred to as a 'hot' wall and a 'cold' wall, that no one is allowed to call discards from that point forward. Likewise, I've also heard that you can call a tile, but only to claim Mah Jongg. Is any of this fact? Is this a "table rule"...?
    >Your assistance will be greatly appreciated!
    >Linda Lehman

    Hi Linda, you wrote:

    I've searched for the answer to this specific question to no avail
    Sorry it was hard to find. Wish I knew how to make it easier to find! It's FAQ 19Y.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 23, 2011


    Looking for a teacher in Romania

    >From: Cătălin
    >Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 1:57 PM
    >Subject: Mahjong teacher
    >Hi. My name is Dorus Catalin and I am from Bucharest, Romania. Unfortunately, there are no mahjong clubs or players (except 3-4 friends) in this country. I have tried searching everywhere online but the only people that have ever heard about mahjong only know the tile matching single player game.
    >Having virtually no players to play with, I started playing online, at Tenhou, but it is a very sterile enviroment. I play riichi ruleset, btw..
    >I was wondering if you (or anyone) can teach mahjong online using skype and some kind of mahjong client. For a price, of course. I ask this cause I come form a Go (board game) background, and there are many strong players that are teaching Go online.
    >I want to learn more about this wonderfull game, but I just can't seem to find any resources, so I will be very glad if I could learn directly from someone..
    >Thanks.

    Hello Dorus,
    I don't know how anyone could teach mahjong (much less riichi/dora majan) online via Skype.
    Personally, I haven't tried Tenhou - I have played on other online games though. I recommend you get Jenn Barr's book and hang out on her forum, at ReachMahjong.com.
    I also know that there are a lot of mahjong organizations in Europe. Why don't you contact the European Mahjong Association and ask them if they know of any other Romanian players? I have links to organization sites and forums in FAQ 4b, and links to more online games in FAQ 5. Good luck to you!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 21, 2011


    Evaluate this set

    >From: Jiri V
    >Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 7:17 AM
    >Subject: mahjong set evaluation
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >I would like to kindly ask you to evaluate this mahjong set as per attached.
    >This mahjong set is consisting of 148 titles. 8 blank
    >No defects visible, only a few scratches to the main box otherwise in fine condition.
    >I guess the tiles are made of bone
    >I have inherited this set from my grandparents who used to play it a lot. I have no idea where they got it from but it has been in our family possession definitely before World war II (I know they used to play it a lot during the war in Prague, Czech republic Europe) This set seems to date back to 1920's but please correct me if I am wrong.
    >Wooden box measures: 24x17x17.5 cm
    >Tile measures: 3x2.2x1.3 cm bone is about 0.4 cm thick
    >No paper material available
    >Thank you and very best regards,
    >Jiří V
    >Czech Republic

    Hello Jiri,
    It is indeed a 1920s set made of bone. The box is nicely decorated. The tiles look to me like the Western indices have been added after acquiring the set (they look to be hand-written, not carved). The black dice look like a substitution (understandable since the original dice were surely very small and not perfectly cubical). I think this sort of set might go for more money in Europe than here in the USA - perhaps because it is not only decorative but also useful for play under many rule sets. My guess is that the set is worth somewhere around $200, maybe more. Would definitely be more if the original dice and papers were in there.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 21, 2011


    FAQ 19E, part 2

    >From: Amy S
    >Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 10:34 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mistake. I answered my own question.
    >Thanks
    >Sent from my iPad

    Well, OK then! Sent from my office iMac.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/21/2011


    are ivory or what material?

    >From: Liz J
    >Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 5:39 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg
    >Hi I just purchased these set at an estate sale. Interested if they are ivory or what material? beautiful box looks to be in fantastic shape. I will send diff. pics from my phone to your email. Thank you for any info.
    >Liz Jones

    >From: "205#######@vzwpix.com"
    >Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 5:32 PM
    >Subject:
    >This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!
    >To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/picture.
    >Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

    Hello Liz, you asked:

    Interested if they are ivory or what material?
    They are not ivory. Read FAQ 7c. You can find the links to the FAQs above left.

    Thank you for any info.
    If you have other questions, read FAQ 7P.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11.20.2011


    FAQ 19E

    >From: Amy S
    >Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 10:30 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello,
    >Can I use a joker with the "2011" hands?
    >Can I pull tiles for the "2011" hands.
    >Thanks,
    >Amy
    >Sent from my iPad

    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19E. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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!
    Sent from my desktop.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/20/2011


    Thanks for writing "the book"

    >From: Amy M
    >Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 8:18 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A (comment)
    >Dear Tom,
    > Just want to thank you for writing the "Red Dragon and the West Wind" book, which we (our Friday night MJ group) just call "the book". We quote you all the time and often wonder "what would Tom do".
    >We would love to play with you but we are in the Boston, MA area. So, if you are ever in our neck of the woods please contact me at [DELETED] and let me know and you will be our honored guest.
    > Thanks again,
    > Amy M

    Thanks, Amy! I appreciate that very much.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/20/2011


    I'm feeling a bit ripped off

    >From: Nancy
    >Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2011 9:54 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I miss your column!!! I am feeling a bit ripped off because I sent you a donation to keep the site running and I haven't seen very many posts by you. On the other hand I hope you are not ill or injured and that you have other priorities keeping you away from your posts.
    >Nancy

    I'm sorry you feel ripped off. I have refunded your donation.

    >From: Nancy
    >Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 8:13 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I didn't want my donation back I want to see your column! I really enjoy it and look forward to it. I would gladly purchase a subscription for your content. Sorry for the confusion :(
    >Nancy

    Donations to this site do not constitute a subscription to the columns. I might need to institute some sort of subscription or membership option to make me more inspired to write the column on a weekly basis again. As it stands now, I am writing one when I have something I want to say. Of course when the 2012 card comes out, I will have a lot to say about that. If I was wealthy enough to resume traveling to tournaments internationally and nationally, I would write about that too.
    You may have noticed that the last column I wrote was #499. The next one I write will be #500, and I'd like to have it be special in some way -- so I'm hoping for inspiration to strike one of these days.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/20/2011


    What's this set worth, part 3

    >From: "guru@mikeshome
    >Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 3:47 PM
    >Subject: re: mah jongg with interesting flowers
    >I understand they are just regular trays. attached is picture of the picture tiles.
    >it is complete and all tiles are in similar condition, and it comes with 5 trays and coin bank in a leather case.
    >I heard it is probably eastern distribution or ES Lowe from 30s to 40s.
    >i removed the link and included a picture.

    Mike, I am not able to help you, because you are not giving me the information I need. I'm sorry.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 18, 2011


    What's this set worth, part 2

    >From: "guru@mikeshome
    >Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 3:47 PM
    >Subject: re: mah jongg with interesting flowers

    Mike, you have sent a picture with some flowers (and yes, one or two of them are interesting) and some One Bams (bird perched on bamboo stalk).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 18, 2011


    What's this set worth?

    >From: "guru@mikeshome
    >Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 3:30 PM
    >Subject: mah jongg with interesting flowers
    >can you tell me what this set is worth? it is very good to excellent 144 pieces in a leather case
    >the five ashranks(sp?) are excellent to mint and they all work to hold the coins.
    >it doesn't have the dice but does have the coin bank.
    >more pics here
    >http://s24.photobucket.com/albums/c42/baseballcards/evo/#!cpZZ7QQtppZZ32

    I'm sorry, Mike, but I don't evaluate sets on Photobucket or eBay for you, and I don't follow links to get to them. If you want me to evaluate a set, you have to email photos to me, and you have to give me the info I need, as outlined in FAQ 7H (the FAQ links are above left).
    I don't know what "ashranks" are - are those some kind of ashtray-combined-with-racks or something? See FAQs 7A, 7B, and 7D if you need to know what terminology to use in regards to mah-jongg set bits and pieces.

    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 18, 2011


    When a tile is played to replace a joker can it be called for mah jong?

    >From: Kathleen T
    >Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 9:03 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >When a tile is played to replace a joker can it be called for mah jong?

    Hello Kathleen,
    I'm not positive I follow exactly what you are asking. But I think you are asking, "can I declare mah-jongg with a redeemed joker?"

    Imagine you are sitting with a hand that's 2 tiles away from mah-jongg. Player A has just made an exposure with a joker. You pick a tile that makes you only 1 tile away from mah-jongg, and you have a tile that can be used to redeem player A's newly exposed joker. You redeem it. Now your 14 tiles make a complete mah-jongg hand.

    Imagine that you are sitting with a hand that's 1 tile away from mah-jongg. Player A has an exposure with a joker and everybody's eyes are on it. Your turn - you pick a tile that can be redeemed for that joker on player A's rack. You redeem it. Now your 14 tiles make a complete mah-jongg hand.

    In both cases, if you have a complete mah-jongg hand, you do NOT have to discard a tile and ruin your win. Of course you ARE permitted to declare mah-jongg.

    If that is not what you were asking, please clarify your question.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 18, 2011


    I can't find two-player rules

    >From: mary w
    >Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 7:19 PM
    >Subject: Question
    >I'm cannot find rules for 2 person Mah Jong. Can you please explain? Thank you.

    Hi Mary,
    I think you just haven't found FAQ 13 yet. If you scroll up and look at the left side of the screen, you'll find the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Click the FAQ 13 link.
    As long as you know which kind of mah-jongg you play, then you just click the link to your variant, and hopefully you'll find the info you're looking for there.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 17, 2011


    Looking for blank tiles

    >From: irislites
    >Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 5:14 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >6th October 2011
    >I hope that I am at the right place to ask this question. I am trying to replace blank tiles for a Mah Jongg set that I purchased back in the 70's. I spoke to a Julie at The Mah Jongg Mayen Company and she told me that what I have is an Asian Set which did not come with Jokers or racks and also to contact you. The set did come with 4 blank tiles so I am in need of 4 more blank tiles that I can use as Jokers. My tiles are white with green bottoms [which I'd call a Kelly green].
    >I hope that you will be able to help me with this. Thank you very much for your time and attention.
    >Yours truly,
    >Jean D

    Hi Jean,
    Well, I don't think I'm going to make you happy, but I can definitely give you information that you need. Or should I say, I already have. You should read FAQ 7 - all of it. Especially FAQ 7A, FAQ 7B, FAQ 7E, and FAQ 7Q. You can link to the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) above left. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). After you've checked the FAQs you are welcome to come back with follow-up questions anytime.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/17/11 (not October, I don't know what that's about!)


    If I help you win, we can split the winnings

    >From: Mary M
    >Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 7:56 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >One of my students asked if she could help a friend go Mah Jongg if her own hand was hopeless and she realized what tiles her friend needed. Even though she would have to pay double should she provide the winning tile, she and her friend would share their winnings at the end of the day.
    >I believe that it is ethically questionable and wondered if you had any experience with this.
    >Many thanks,
    >Mary M
    >Toronto, ON, Canada

    Hi Mary, you asked:

    One of my students asked if she could help a friend go Mah Jongg if her own hand was hopeless and she realized what tiles her friend needed.
    You could tell your student, "You can do that... if you don't mind being hated by the other two players."

    she and her friend would share their winnings at the end of the day.
    That is collusion. Doing that will get your student and her friend blackballed by every mah-jongg group in the province. They'd be banned from ever playing at a tournament. They would only have one another to play mah-jongg with.

    I believe that it is ethically questionable
    Yer darn tootin'!

    I ... wondered if you had any experience with this.
    No. Never saw it, never heard of it, never been asked that before.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 17, 2011


    Value of my set

    >From: Leeta D
    >Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2011 2:00 PM
    >Subject: set valuation
    >Hello,
    >I bought a mah jongg set from a thrift store a couple weeks ago, so I have no idea where, when, or for how much the set was originally bought. It does have a slight smell to it, but the only way I can describe it is "old". Sort of like the smell of a thrift store, but not strong or mildewy, and if I clean it I imagine most of the smell would be gone anyway. Could you give me a suggestion on the value of my set please, as well as a general date when it was made?
    >It is a 148 tile set, and with your wonderful site I've identified it as a Chinese version made for Western usage. All tiles are accounted for, including the basic 136 plus 8 flower tiles and 4 extra white dragon (blank) tiles. They are made entirely of bamboo. They are a bit discolored from being handled (which can probably be cleaned), but there are no cracks or chunks out of any of them so I would consider them to be good condition. They measure just short of 3 cm high, by 2 cm wide, by 1 cm thick.
    > There are 120 betting sticks, made of bone. 8 with five red dots on each end and measuring about 7.5 cm long, 36 with one red dot and measuring 7 cm, 34 with 10 black dots and measuring 6.5 cm, and 42 with two black dots measuring about 6 cm. I'd say fair, because the ends of most of them have the pores or veins visible, but all dots are still visible, so the sticks are fully functional . They are a bit discolored from usage, but most of that can probably be cleaned off easily enough.
    >There are four wind discs with a cylindrical container, all in good condition, I think made of bone. There are also four dice, in good condition, with the fours in red and the ones not painted. They are made of bone and oddly (to me anyway), not exact cubes. The long sides are about a cm, the shorter sides are a couple mm shorter, and every die is done the same so that the smaller sides are the 1 and 6. .
    >The container for this set is a tin box with a sliding cover. The outside has a goldenrod coloring with Asian looking designs. I'd consider this fair to good condition as well. There are no scrapes of the golden coloring coming off besides where the cover slides on, but some places, particularly near all of the edges, the coloring is much thinner and so the silver somewhat shows through. The inside has a couple of small spots of rust, about 1 cm in diameter. One of the smaller sides has a slight bend in it. The cover has 3 sort of bends in it, giving it a warped look, but not so bad that it is not functional; it still slides on and off of the rest of the tin and fits together fine. There is also an extra section of tin that I assume is supposed to be stood up inside the box as a partition between the tiles and the betting sticks.
    >As for paper materials, there are no directions manuals, but there are a few small pages of blank old paper, a little cardboard "10" coin, and what seems to be a page of a Chinese newspaper, folded and falling apart in many places.
    >The craks have the earlier/simpler style character on them.
    >There are no jokers, rulers, or racks.
    >I have included pictures of everything as you requested.
    >Thank you for your help,
    >Leeta Dore

    Hi Leeta, your question for me is:

    Could you give me a suggestion on the value of my set please, as well as a general date when it was made?
    This type of all-bamboo set was made to be cheap. I've seen those slide-top tin boxes (also made cheaply), usually from the 1920s. Your tiles are very common, and the condition is just "good." The condition of the box is just "fair." There's no instruction manual. You'd be lucky to get $20 for it.

    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 13, 2011


    Are you required to verbalize a call, part 4

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2011 12:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Referring to my previous 2 questions and your answers of yesterday: The redhead mah jongg fuzz asks: I must be missing something in your comments and Q&A: you wrote 1. "I have a glossary at the back of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," and I've ranted about misused words in my column several times (search the index for keyword "word"). 2. But in general, harmony should be the goal. One way to get harmony is to insist on strict rules and strict etiquette (which would cause disharmony until such time as everybody toes the line). Another way is to be loose, and enforce rules when transgressed flagrantly."
    >
    >1. I have read the glossary in "RD&WW" and I checked out many of your comments in Strategy column and your Q&A site but I can't find the index for the keywords. I have tried opening different windows but still don't know where to put in the keyword so I can find a column or question on a particular topic. I end up scrolling though all the columns or questions and answers if I can't find what I want in your book. Where, oh where, do I look?
    >
    >2. I agree about harmony and my way is the first way you suggested. Almost all the other players in my 3 groups also agree and for those who don't want to follow the rules, I offered them the door. So far things in 2 of my groups are working well. The one I have been referring to the past 2 emails is slowly coming around but a couple of "new" older players still need to " toe the line"! I don't think I could be comfortable with your second way though.
    >
    >I did wonder where the word "retrieve" came from referring to jokers but could see saying "redeem". I didn't think that the mah jongg police would arrest you if you said something else though! Well the snowbirds are almost all back in FL so our mah jongg tables will be full and your "RD&WW" will be getting lots of use. Looking forward to your strategy columns. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Lynn P

    Hi Lynn.

    I can't find the index for the keywords.
    No, I never said I had an index of words on my website. I was saying you could "do a search" when you're on the index of columns. But rather than my trying to teach you how to use your browser's search function (I don't even know which browser you use), the Words columns are 477, 463, 460, and 353 (I was just trying to save myself the trouble of looking up the column numbers by telling you to search the list of columns yourself).

    I agree about harmony and my way is the first way you suggested. Almost all the other players in my 3 groups also agree and for those who don't want to follow the rules, I offered them the door.
    Excellent. That's the best way to do it, given what sounds like an otherwise unmanageable situation.

    a couple of "new" older players still need to " toe the line"! I don't think I could be comfortable with your second way though.
    You're right. The soft-footed approach wouldn't work with that kind of personality.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 13, 2011


    What's the one and only strategy to use in this case?

    >From: "brendarainwater
    >Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2011 11:05 AM
    >Subject: Strategy play when Charleston is stopped by opponent
    >Hello Tom,
    >My question is whether or not it is good strategy to do a courtesy pass to the opponent player who stops the Charleston because she is only 2 or 3 tiles away from a maj jongg. Our group of players tend to avoid a courtesy pass with her because we do not want to help her in any way. Of course we also do not get any help, so we wonder if this is a good strategy or not.

    Hello Ms. Rainwater,
    I have two magic words for you: "it depends."
    And another interesting word comes to mind. It's kind of a funny word, actually: "oxymoron." Have you ever heard the phrase "moderation in all things"? Well, that's an oxymoron, because if you use moderation in absolutely every single thing, then you're not being moderate in your use of moderation!
    The point I'm trying to make is that there is no "one and only true strategy" to use when somebody stops the Charleston. Or in any other situation, either. You have to choose the strategy based on the situation at the moment.
    Most of the time, you can't count on getting useful tiles on the second Charleston, or in the courtesy. You've probably heard or even said the phrase, "same junk going around."
    But occasionally you DO get useful tiles then. I've even gotten a useful tile during the courtesy. Not a lot, but it has happened, and more than once.
    Your problem is how to balance your desire to build your own hand with your desire to play defensively. You have to decide which you need to do more than the other. If your tiles are crap, then you might as well go defensive, and refuse to trade in the courtesy. If you have some good stuff, though, you have a chance to win -- so maybe you want to trade with her in that case. Or maybe she's just getting on your nerves, and you want to let her know your feelings even though it's cutting off your nose to spite your face.
    Get the point? There is no one and only magic strategy to use every single time this happens. You have to use your brain. It's called "being strategic." Strategy isn't a set of hard and fast rules. It's gray cells.
    Besides, how do you really know she's stopping it "because she is only 2 or 3 tiles away from a maj jongg" [sic]? You don't! You can't possibly know what she's holding in her hand. Maybe she's got two hands. Or maybe she's stopping the Charleston because she knows it throws everybody off their game, messes with their heads -- and she believes she won't get anything in the second Charleston anyway. Hard to tell why she does what she does. You have to play your tiles. Personally, I don't go on the defense that early in the game.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these
    Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/13/11


    Are you required to verbalize a call, part 3

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2011 7:50 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Re: my email: Are you required to verbalize a call, part 2 on 11/12: You are very kind to keep the peace in your group. I like to do that too. When you personally claim a discard in this group with the lady who doesn't say she is claiming a discard, do you say that you are claiming it or just silently take the discard and display it? Is everyone else silent when they claim a discard too?
    >The lady who insisted on the other player saying "call'" just emailed me saying that when you redeem a joker you have to say either "retrieve" or "redeem". I have checked out "RD&WW" but don't see any place that gives any specific words to say. Are there any or can you just say, "I'll take your joker. Ha, ha!" or something to that effect or even just take it and say nothing? It seems this player has a hang-up with mah jongg vocabulary and when to say particular words. Maybe we need a mah jongg vocabulary book and in what situation mah jongg players say which words! Thanks for quick response to former email. Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn.

    When you personally claim a discard in this group with the lady who doesn't say she is claiming a discard, do you say that you are claiming it
    I told Paula, "I have a player in my group who doesn't bother speaking when she calls a discard instead of picking from the wall." I thought it was clearly implied that that player is the only one who makes silent claims. But to be very explicit: I always verbalize my calls.

    The lady ... emailed me saying that when you redeem a joker you have to say either "retrieve" or "redeem".
    "Retrieve" doesn't make any sense, because she never had that joker in the first place.

    I have checked out "RD&WW" but don't see any place that gives any specific words to say.
    I never intended to dictate exact words anybody has to say in that situation, or when calling a discard, or when declaring mah-jongg. The rules are not specific. Players have many different ways of saying those things. The rules do not dictate specific words that must be used.

    can you just say, "I'll take your joker. Ha, ha!" or something to that effect
    I think most players who understand English would get the idea from those words.

    or even just take it and say nothing?
    The rules do not say that anything must be said when redeeming a joker. But I think it's "best practice" to verbalize a joker exchange.

    It seems this player has a hang-up with mah jongg vocabulary and when to say particular words. Maybe we need a mah jongg vocabulary book and in what situation mah jongg players say which words!
    I have a glossary at the back of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," and I've ranted about misused words in my column several times (search the index for keyword "word"). But in general, harmony should be the goal. One way to get harmony is to insist on strict rules and strict etiquette (which would cause disharmony until such time as everybody toes the line). Another way is to be loose, and enforce rules when transgressed flagrantly.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/13/11


    Are you required to verbalize a call, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2011 5:49 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Re 11/12 mj rules from Paula M about verbalizing a call even when it is your turn: Yesterday while playing American mah jongg not verbalizing a call caused a problem so as the mah jongg "fuzz" of our group, I was asked to check with Tom. Out came my trusty "RD&WW" and I found on page 52 #59: "to claim a discard, the player must vocalize the claim." a. ...she may simply say "I want that", "Call", or "Take." for instance. " b. "The player must speak the claim loudly and clearly enough that all players can hear the claim." My 3 groups also allow words like "wait", and "hold" for our table rules. I would think it would be better for player A to say "wait'" than to have the next player B pick from the wall and have the tile almost racked which leaves the window of opportunity open and then player A says "call" and player B has to put tile back in the wall.
    >
    >What happened yesterday was player A discarded a tile, player B took the discard and placed it with other tiles on her rack, player C said player B had to say "Call'" before she could take tile and display said tile but Player B wouldn't say a word so Player C insisted she couldn't take discard without saying "Call". I said Player B had to make the other players aware she had claimed discard by saying something to that effect but she remained silent. Boy this exchange brought back my days as a 2nd and 3rd grade teacher and we are all over 69!!!
    >
    >I gather from your response to Paula M that your group disregards the information in your book and makes its own table rules. Does only one player in your group remain silent or do all of you? The teacher in me says if there are rules to a game, everybody plays by them. If there are no rules then table rules will be OK as long as everyone knows them. Sorry nobody emailed you on 11/11/11 by 11:11 but game was at my house yesterday and I didn't get a chance to write above email until today. Again all my thanks for making mah jongg such an enjoyable game (through your book, strategy column and Q&A site) that I am playing 2-3 times a week! Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn, you wrote:

    What happened yesterday was player A discarded a tile, player B took the discard and placed it with other tiles on her rack, player C said player B had to say "Call'"
    I was aware, when I wrote my reply to Paula earlier, what the rule is. But I am also aware that in some forms of mah-jongg, when a player is taking the discard on her own turn, her claim trumps others' claims so she is going to have that tile, and the verbalization is recognized as being a little superfluous. What you are describing is two people who are equally stubborn -- one insisting that the rules be obeyed, and one insisting that that particular rule is silly. Immovable object being pushed by irresistible force. Seen it too many times before. I'd rather not be anywhere near.

    I gather from your response to Paula M that your group disregards the information in your book
    Well, no, not exactly. The one lady knows the rule but it's her house, and I prefer not to try to force a showdown, so I hold my peace.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 12, 2011


    Are you required to verbalize a call, even when it's your turn?

    >From: Paula M
    >Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2011 8:29 AM
    >Subject: mj rule
    >Hi - My question is the following: If it is your turn and you want to pick up the tile discarded by the person who came right before you, can you just expose the tiles that make up the pung, kong etc. or do you have to say something to indicate that you are taking it like "take" or "hold to call?" If it is not a rule to indicate verbally that you are taking the tile, is it still the courteous thing to do? Thanks. Paula M

    Hi Paula,
    The rules say each player should verbalize a call. But have you read FAQ 14? I have a player in my group who doesn't bother speaking when she calls a discard instead of picking from the wall. I don't bother saying anything to her about it.
    By the way, "hold" or "wait" is not really a by-the-rules verbalization. In my opinion, it's more courteous to know ahead of time what you want to call and what you don't. Either say "call" or don't say anything at all. But do read Frequently Asked Question 14. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/12/11


    11/11/11

    Here it is 11/11/11 (at 11:11) - and nobody has written me a mah-jongg question all day. Well darnitall, I say! I just have to say it's 11/11/11,11:11 without being prompted, then!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/11/11,11:11


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

    >From: J R
    >Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2011 2:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In the American version. I know you cannot pick up a tile from the discarded pile if you are doing a concealed hand but can you pick up a tile
    >to mah jongg with a concealed hand
    >Thank you
    >Janet R

    Hello Janet,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to explore before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19BD. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/10/11


    Betting in American mah-jongg

    >From: linda m
    >Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2011 8:09 AM
    >Subject: betting
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have read rule W4 regarding betting, but my group still has a question with the following: "The fifth player looks at each player's hand after the Charleston is complete and makes a note of the name of the player whom she thinks will win the hand (or if she thinks it will be a wall game)." Obviously, one needs to look at the players hands after the Charleston is complete in order to bet. However, our question involves the "looking" prior to the betting. Does "after" the Charleston is complete mean that the better cannot look at the players' hands during the Charleston to see how the hands are coming together? Some players feel that the better can only look when the Charleston is complete, and some feel that the better can observe the entire Charleston.
    >Thanks in advance.
    >Linda

    Hi Linda, you wrote:

    Does "after" the Charleston is complete mean that the better cannot look at the players' hands during the Charleston
    No. It doesn't.

    Some players feel that the better can only look when the Charleston is complete
    They're wrong, Those players can wait if they want to, but when a group agrees to have a fifth player acting as bettor, they give up the right to object to having someone watch over their shoulders as the game begins and progresses.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/10/11


    Are they ivory?

    >From: "tcostas1
    >Sent: Sunday, November 6, 2011 12:16 PM
    >Subject: Question from Tamara regarding two tiles that may be ivory, please.............
    >Tom,
    > You're the only person I know to ask about these two tiles.
    > Can you tell me anything about them.
    > Here is the link to the listing on EBay.
    >http://www.ebay.com/itm/190597605557?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649
    >Many and sincere thanks,
    >Tamara

    Hello Tamara,
    As it says above, I don't follow links at your request. If you want me to look at pictures, you have to email them to me. But if you want to know if tiles are ivory, you need to read my "Is It Ivory" FAQ. Please read Frequently Asked Question 7c2. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Daegu, S. Korea
    11/7/11


    Two frequently asked questions

    >From: Martins
    >Sent: Friday, November 4, 2011 9:34 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >1. When does a player declare they are going Atomic - Before or After Charleston??
    >2. Can you pick up a discarded tile if you don't have any of that tile in your hand, but you have three Jokers or two Jokers that enables you to make a hand?

    Hello, Mr. or Ms. Martin,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to explore before writing to me. The FAQs are above, marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.

    When does a player declare they are going Atomic
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19AZ.
    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.

    Can you pick up a discarded tile if you don't have any of that tile in your hand, but you have three Jokers or two Jokers that enables you to make a hand?
    Read FAQ 19L. 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 Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 4, 2011


    Does an Exposed hand HAVE to be exposed?

    >From: Moniea
    >Sent: Thursday, November 3, 2011 12:46 PM
    >Subject: mah-jongg question
    >In the FAQ #19 rules, under question AQ, does the answer (third line) mean that a player must have previous exposures before declaring mah-jongg for an an exposed hand? The answer implies to me that if there is no previous exposure and a mah-jongg is declared, this is not a valid mah-jongg because this is a concealed hand. Correct?
    >Thank you,
    >Dolores

    Hi Dolores,
    Hmm, let's see if what I wrote could be interpreted that way:

      Exposed means "there is at least one exposure (meld)."
      So, if a player is displaying one or more melds (exposures), which kind of hand is the player holding...? Exposed.

    Yes, I see how you could have misunderstood how Exposed hands work, given the explanation I'd written in FAQ 19AQ. I shall change it, as follows:

      Exposed means "exposures are permitted."
      Whereas a Concealed hand must not be exposed prior to declaring mah-jongg, the player is permitted to make one or more melds (exposures) from discarded tiles while the hand is in play if her hand is marked X on the card.
      A Concealed hand (C) must be displayed all at once when declaring mah-jongg, but an Exposed hand (X) may be displayed piecemeal.

    Thanks to you, that FAQ should be more understandable for future readers! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 3, 2011


    What if everybody wants to blind pass, part 2

    >From: Katherine H
    >Sent: Thursday, November 3, 2011 12:08 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you for your great answer. I like it, and it would solve the problem.
    >Can't figure out how to respond on the board, but will study it later.
    >Again, thanks,
    >K

    You figured it out! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 3, 2011


    What if everybody wants to blind pass?

    >From: Katherine H
    >Sent: Thursday, November 3, 2011 6:58 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In the Charleston, last pass, everyone wants to "steal" a tile to pass. I know three tiles must be passed. If no-one "gives," do we have to break up a pattern in our hand to come up with the third tile? Thank you.

    Hi Katherine,
    I have never seen an answer from the NMJL on this one, but as I interpret the rules, tiles must be passed. Consider this crazy thought:

    Most likely, there's only one player (or at most two players) who absolutely cannot pass any tiles. SOMEONE has at least one tile she can pass ... the dealer, for instance. If the dealer cannot declare mah-jongg, she is going to have to start the game by discarding a tile. That means she has one tile (at least) that she can pass.

    Since there is at least one player who can pass at least one tile, it's possible to satisfy the rule requiring that a Last Right pass take place. It's permissible to Blind Pass on the Last Right, as you know.

    The Blind Pass is the loophole that'll get you through this impasse.

    Because Blind Passing is permitted on this pass, all that's needed is at least one passable tile. And unless the dealer can declare mah-jongg, there is one. If the dealer can declare mah-jongg, just let her do that and be done with it.

    So, in the worst case, then, the dealer passes one tile right and says, "I owe you two more." That player can pass it right and say, "I owe you two more," and so on, until each player has passed the tile right. Then the dealer need only repeat the process twice (saying, instead of "I owe you two more," rather "Now I owe you one more" and "Here's your third tile" on the 2nd and 3rd time, respectively). Now each player has (in effect) passed three tiles to each other player, using the Blind Pass workaround, although in actuality nobody has actually changed her hand. And the requirement that a Last Right be passed has been satisfied (thanks to the Blind Pass loophole).

    Or you could just all SAY you did the above, have a good laugh, and signal the dealer to discard. It amounts to the same thing anyway. Think about it!

    Also, please read column 353. You can get to the columns by clicking the purple banner atop this page.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 3, 2011


    An inscrutable question, part 2

    >From: "SANDBuckee@aol.com"
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 10:14 PM
    >Subject: Re: (no subject)
    >A mah-jongg show is a convention where distributors come to sell their stuff...IS there such a thing/
    >S

    Hi, S.
    Oh, okay, I see. You mean a retail merchandise trade show. I went to one once, and I couldn't remember its name today, so I googled "merchandise show las vegas" and turned up ASD/AMD. You might also want to attend Toy Fair, held every winter in NYC. There may be other retail merchandise trade shows too -- try Googling that phrase. I even went to a toy trade show in Hong Kong once -- http://www.sloperama.com/hk/hkmj.htm
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 3, 2011


    Edit my listing, and an inscrutable question

    >From: "SANDBuckee at aol.com"
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 8:41 PM
    >Subject: (no subject)
    >Can you please edit my teaching posting
    >NY Lower CT and Westchester
    >American Mah-Jongg
    >Stefanie Buckley
    >Thanks
    >
    >Do you know where / when there are Mah- jongg shows in NYC area?
    >S

    Hi Stefanie, you wrote:

    please edit my teaching posting
    Done.

    Do you know where / when there are Mah- jongg shows in NYC area?
    I don't even know what a "Mah- jongg show" is!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11022011 (Palindrome Day)


    Seeking a teacher

    >From: Lynn Takash
    >Email: takashfamily at cox.net
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 8:00 PM
    >Subject: mah jongg
    >Do you know of anyone in the Phoenix area who gives lessons?
    >Lynn Takash

    Hello, Lynn,
    Welcome to my website. Please read Frequently Asked Questions 4a & 15 and check the Find Players bulletin board. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). The bulletin boards are up near there too. Please always check the FAQs and boards first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11022011 (Palindrome Day)


    Looking for info on tournaments

    >From: Martha K (onebamtwocrak)
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 3:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: where can I find a list of american-style mah jongg tournaments in around New York City, Long Island, Westchester, or New Jersey. Thanks.
    >Martha

    Hello Martha,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answer, I have compiled all my frequently given answers into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask newcomers to explore before writing to me.
    For tournaments: you should read FAQ 4a and the Find Players bulletin board.
    Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). You'll find the link to the Find Players board nearby.
    Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11022011 (Palindrome Day)


    Two FAQs

    >From: FC Sims
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 3:10 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >RE: Jokers in a Dead Hand
    >If your hand has been declared dead and there is a Joker exposed can other players take that Joker and exchange it for the matching number in the exposure.
    >RE: 2011 1111 1111 hand.
    >Can the 1's in the 2011 be Jokers instead of ones?
    > Thank you

    Hello FC,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answer, I have compiled all my frequently given answers into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask newcomers to explore before writing to me. Please check Frequently Asked Question 19. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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!

    If your hand has been declared dead and there is a Joker exposed
    Read FAQ 19P.

    Can the 1's in the 2011 be Jokers instead of ones?
    See FAQ 19E.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/1/11


    A mahjong set in Swansea

    >From: Ali A
    >Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2011 3:28 PM
    >Subject: Hello from Swansea, in the UK
    >Hello
    >I bought a mahjong set in a charity shop in Swansea, South Wales (UK) and since then I have been trying to find out more about it. I loved your website - thank you!
    >It has helped me learn a lot more about the sets, it's really interesting.
    >Having read your faqs I think my set is an American 1920s set, bone and bamboo, rosewood box. I have attached some photos to see if you think I'm on the right track...
    >Here is some more info about it: It has been a bit neglected, some metal bits are sharp, the front slides on, the handle on the top drawer is missing. There is a little bamboo box with a sliding lid, but there is nothing in it (think it is missing dice). I love the way the bone is carved and slid onto the bamboo.
    >My question is: howcome my box only has 2 drawers, when most have 5? Could my box just be a cheap imitation? I love it and just want to know approximately what year it could be.
    >Thanks, and I hope you have time to help
    >PS I am going to study your faqs to discover which set I have, I would like to be able to find the ones I am missing
    >Ali

    Hello Ali, you wrote:

    I think my set is an American 1920s set,
    I would leave "American" out of that. The sets of this type were made in China, for export -- not only to America but also to the UK and Europe.

    howcome my box only has 2 drawers, when most have 5? Could my box just be a cheap imitation?
    I never saw one with 2 drawers before, but I can guess that it was done for cost savings. Other than its having just the 2 drawers, the box looks genuine enough. I wouldn't worry about it -- just enjoy it for its unique attributes.

    I would like to be able to find the ones I am missing
    The tiles, you mean? Just try to find some that match yours in size. It'll be a Frankenstein set, but that's OK. (Try the tile vendors in FAQ 4a and on the Tiles For Sale board.)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 30, 2011


    Can 2 players continue playing, part 2

    >From: "jjaclen
    >Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2011 9:28 PM
    >Subject:
    >....Your response two my 'two dead hands' query was very funny!!!...thanks for the laugh
    > (Katy's hand WAS dead though, because she exposed the 3-6-9 (c) with two flowers, and that hand calls for three separate suits
    > (sorry that my note omitted that detail)
    > ...What we all found a bit murky was the sentence on the back of the NMJL card under Mah Jongg in Error: "If more than one
    > player, other than erring declarer........(in our case - Ellen was the initial erring player....and Katy was the second - exposing
    > an incorrect Mah Jongg)............."exposes part or all of the hand, game cannot continue......
    > Could you please respond with a scenario explaining this....That second sentence seems to contradict the sentence before it..
    > Thank you, Tom!! Jacqueline

    Hi Jacqueline, you wrote:

    What we all found a bit murky was the sentence on the back of the NMJL card under Mah Jongg in Error: "If more than one
    > player, other than erring declarer... exposes part or all of the hand, game cannot continue
    What's murky about it?

    That second sentence seems to contradict the sentence before it..
    What second sentence? You quoted one sentence. I looked on the card, and the sentence before the one you quoted says what I said last time you wrote: when two players are dead, two survivors keep playing.

    Could you please respond with a scenario explaining this....
    Imagine two players go dead. The remaining two keep playing. Now imagine three players go dead. The sole survivor does not continue playing. The game cannot continue. It's void. Same dealer deals again. It's all what I said last time: "The game only becomes void when 3 people kill themselves." It's also void if 4 people kill themselves, naturally.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 29, 2011


    My enrobed set

    >From: Donna V
    >Cc: myrnar
    >Sent: Friday, October 28, 2011 12:36 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg set evaluation
    >Hello Mr. Sloper:
    >My name is Donna V[deleted]. I just began playing the great game of Mah Jongg this year, I have been looking for the right set to speak to me. My good friend Myrna (cc'd) said that her mother had a set and maybe I would like it. I recognized the age of the set right away and we both feel it is worth getting evaluated before she gives it away.
    >We did our homework and read all the FAQs. If you would please give us some guidance, we would be greatly appreciative.
    >WHAT WE KNOW:
    >· 136 tiles complete --- 36 dots, bams, cracks each/4 red, green, soap, dragons, NEWS
    >· PLUS -- 16 flowers/jokers
    >· 5 Racks with chips/35 red, 25 green, 16 white, 25 blue
    >· 2 dice that look original to the set
    >· NO paper -- no card(s) or manual
    >· Myrna's mother played with this set in the 1940s so it is at least that old
    >· The tiles are enrobed
    >· Condition of the case (leather) is fair
    >16 EXTRA TILES:
    >· There are a combination of tiles that seem to have been modified to create 16 flowers. (Why is the 6th Joker identical to number 5 but no number?)
    >· Also, it seemed that "Mom" modified with some stickers and pink nail polish that we were able to clean up most of except for the Red Dragons (see dots on tiles in the photo) and one of the flowers
    >We think the tiles themselves are Bakelite. There is a pinkish hue to the backs of all of them. Nine photos attached.
    >As I said earlier, any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
    >HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
    >Donna V

    Hi Donna,
    You did not give me quite enough information. You didn't say what the condition of the tiles is. I don't know if the set smells funny when you open the case. That, and the bizarre combination of rare tiles and dilapidated case makes my valuation questionable.

    It's a fixer-upper. In its present condition, it has value for someone willing to go through the trouble to refurbish and restore it. Once it's restored, then it will have very high value indeed. I think as it stands now, it might fetch a few hundred. But restored, its value would double. I don't know if an enrobed set in excellent condition might sell for as much as a thousand dollars. But I'm guessing it could, if it was restored.

    To comment on selected things you said:

    PLUS -- 16 flowers/jokers
    This set has no jokers. It has 16 flowers. The tile with red fingernail polish on it is trying to be a joker. The tile with sticker residue on it was at one time a joker. Read FAQ 7E.

    There are a combination of tiles that seem to have been modified to create 16 flowers.
    I don't see any of those in the photos you sent. What I see are flowers that were marked to designate them as jokers.

    (Why is the 6th Joker identical to number 5 but no number?)
    Wrong question. I see two #5 flowers, one without the Arabic numeral 5 on it. Read FAQ 7E. I don't know why it has no numeral on it.

    the Red Dragons (see dots on tiles in the photo)
    I'm guessing that someone was having difficulty distinguishing the red dragon from the green dragon, and the nail polish was added as a visual aid. It should be removed, and the tiles' paint touched up expertly. See FAQ 7o.

    any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Read FAQ 7P. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 29, 2011


    I know what "only" means, in English - but not in NMJL-ish

    >From: Kathleen D
    >Sent: Friday, October 28, 2011 12:33 PM
    >Subject: 2011 MNJL card
    >In 2468, third and six down, (any 2 suits, Kong 8s Only) why "only." Does that mean no jokers, 8s only?
    >(I do know what "only" means, just don't understand why it's stated in these instances.)
    >Thanks... enjoy your column (and your humor)
    >Kathy D

    Hi Kathy, you wrote:

    (I do know what "only" means, just don't understand why it's stated in these instances.)
    You may know what it means in English, but you don't know what it means in NMJL-ese. Please read Frequently Asked Question 19AO. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 28, 2011


    Can 2 players continue playing after 2 players go dead?

    >From: "jjaclen
    >Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2011 7:33 PM
    >Subject: Uncertain ruling
    >Hello Tom...(American Mah Jongg)
    > Ellen, Katy, Gitta and myself players;
    > Ellen played (Under winds and dragons) .. GGGG..then EEE....Katy challenged her saying, are you sure this is a valid
    > combination....(Ellen had erred, and her hand was declared dead)
    > Katy then called out 'Mah Jongg' for herself..but under the '3-6-9-' play....her last grouping of 9999 was of the same suit as her
    > 6666......so Katy's hand was declared dead..
    > Gitta and I continued to play...Gitta finally coming up with a correct Mah Jongg hand...
    > Question:.....Was it valid for Gitta and I to continue playing after both of the other two players had become 'dead' under those
    > circumstances...Was Gitta's Mah Jongg win valid??
    > (Thank you for settling this)...Jacqueline

    Hi Jacqueline, you wrote:

    Ellen had erred, and her hand was declared dead)
    OK so far...

    Katy then called out 'Mah Jongg' for herself..but under the '3-6-9-' play....her last grouping of 9999 was of the same suit as her
    > 6666......so Katy's hand was declared dead..
    What? That's wrong. See 369 #2. Katy is not dead. Nobody can say "she is working on an impossible hand." Because she could be working on 369 #2, with two kongs exposed (sixes and nines in the same suit).

    Was it valid for Gitta and I to continue playing after both of the other two players had become 'dead' under those
    > circumstances
    Yes, of course. The game only becomes void when 3 people kill themselves.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 27, 2011


    Reverse redemption (FAQ 19AL)

    >From: Barbara Z
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:17 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can you use a joker that is in your hand to replace another player's exposed tile for - example the exposed had is a pung of 4s and you need a pair of fours, can you take your joker & exchange it for the 4 that is exposed therefore giving that player a joker, & you keeping the 4?????
    >Thank you.


    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to explore before writing to me. Please read Frequently Asked Question 19AL. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 26, 2011


    Can I redeem a joker atop my own rack? (FAQ 19M)

    >From: SuZi
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 11:12 AM
    >Subject: MJ Questions
    >Yesterday I picked up a 7 dot to make a Pung exposure but instead of putting up 2 other 7 dots I put a Joker atop my rack, leaveing the 3rd 7 dot in my hand. Before my next turn I realized my error. On my next turn would it be acceptable to retrieve my Joker (after picking from Wall or picking up another discard) with the 7 dot that I mistakenly left in my hand?
    >Thanks for your time!
    >Susan
    >South Carolina

    Hi SuZi,
    Yes, of course you can. As it says in Frequently Asked Question 19M (you can link to the FAQs above left), you are permitted to redeem a joker atop your own rack.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 25, 2011


    How to handle a slow player? (FAQ 19BA & column 375)

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Monday, October 24, 2011 10:17 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Thank you so much for your 10/23 column #499 "Indecision". I have already emailed it to my 3 mah jongg groups since all incidents that you mentioned have come up at one time or another in all groups. Is there any way you can incorporate the following items in another one or two columns: 1. Taking a long time deciding which tile to discard - player looks from one end of rack to other and fiddles with her tiles-finally picks up tile and then changes her mind before finally discarding tile. 2. Rearranges and counts her tiles almost every time she takes a discard or picks from the wall since she has 2 or 3 hands going at the same time and the rest of us wait until she is satisfied and finally discards. She sometimes rearranges her hand when someone else discards or claims a discard. 3. Takes a long time passing 3 tiles in the Charleston-player chooses tiles from the beginning, middle and end of her rack to pass, passes, then sometimes takes one or 2 back and replaces them while we wait while she decides. I have said if the person to whom she is passing has already reached for or touched the tiles she can't take hers back. I had read this somewhere so I am hoping it is a rule or at least mah jongg etiquette. Any comments or suggestions you make will be appreciated. Looking forward to more strategy columns. Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn,
    I wrote about how to handle slow players in column 375 and in FAQ 19BA. And I gave advice to slow players in my book on page 110.
    Also you wrote:

    I have said if the person to whom she is passing has already reached for or touched the tiles she can't take hers back.
    That's a good table etiquette rule, if you can get your group to agree on it. I, too, have a player who constantly changes her mind about her Charleston passes. It's at its worst when I'm seated at her left. When she passes her three tiles, I either snatch them immediately or I wait a moment, watching her to see if she is going to take them back (depending on my mood). I find it very annoying. Once I have looked at them, I never permit her to have them back.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 24, 2011


    Jokerless?

    >From: Phylia K
    >Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2011 6:40 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg question
    >Is a hand considered Jokerless if a Joker was claimed from an exosure leaving the player with no jokers when he/she declared Mah Jong?
    >From Phylia K

    Hi Phylia,
    I was just discussing this with Lynn P, in her post "More weird stuff my group does," sent Thursday, October 20. You can scroll down and read it (see point #3).
    And a hand is considered jokerless if it does not now have any jokers in it. Period.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 22, 2011


    More weird stuff, part 2
    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, October 21, 2011 5:15 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Referring to my 10/18 email "More Weird stuff my group does: "This happened last week with a group of ladies who have been playing for a minimum of 3-4 years : Player (B) called a discard, exposed 3 E and realized it was concealed and said she was dead which I said she couldn't do. (I was playing at the other table and was asked if she could call herself dead.) So the other 3 players decided not to call her dead and let her play." OK it gets "weirder".
    >
    >I just found out that another player (A) had exposures on her top rack and needed a pair. "DEAD" player (B) discarded the one tile that player A needed so she could call mah jongg.
    >
    >1. Can player B discard another player's winning tile so she could call it and get mah jongg? That certainly is not playing defensively. (RD&WW" p.64, 105)
    >
    >2. A player at today's mah jongg game (a different group) said it is a rule that a player in the group has to call a dead player "dead" and that she cannot continue to play. Obviously she has the wrong information but insists she is right. I found the answer you gave to my question on 6/3/11 which says;"no other player is obligated to call her dead, she must play until called dead by someone else."
    >
    >I am thinking that I should email players in the group: "It is to each player's advantage to call a "dead" player dead since that increases the availability of the wall tiles to the other players with fewer players picking from the wall." Can you add any other reasons to call a "dead" player dead? I am really thinking of taking your advice and dividing this group into 2 small groups but there is one player who is really showing improvement and she would benefit from playing with the better players. Maybe the 5 of us could draw straws to see which two will play with the other group for half the time. Any other suggestions? Thanks you for all your help. Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn, you wrote:

    Can player B discard another player's winning tile so she could call it and get mah jongg? That certainly is not playing defensively.
    So you're saying you are still confused between "strategy" and "rules"? There is a difference. Rules are rules. Strategies are strategies. "And never the twain shall meet," Tom said markedly.

    Obviously she has the wrong information but insists she is right.
    What's obvious is obvious (obviously).

    Can you add any other reasons to call a "dead" player dead?
    No. Do I really need to?

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 21, 2011


    A frequently asked question

    >From: "WINJUDY
    >Sent: Friday, October 21, 2011 2:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Can a joker be used for either the numbers or the dragon in "2011" ?
    >Thanks
    >Winjudy

    Hello winjudy,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked questions that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers, I have compiled them into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask newcomers to explore before writing to me. Please read Frequently Asked Question 19E. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 21, 2011


    Can she call me dead for a tile concealed in her hand?

    >From: Claudia N
    >Sent: Friday, October 21, 2011 9:48 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A player recently called my hand dead, saying that she was holding the tile crucial to my being able to win, and so therefore she would not be discarding it. Was that a correct call?
    >Thanks!
    >Claudia

    Hi Claudia,
    Please read the rule on when a player may call another player dead, in Frequently Asked Question 19AA (the second bullet). Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 21, 2011


    Is she allowed to stop the Charleston if she has 3 tiles to pass?

    >From: "embassy5@
    >Sent: Friday, October 21, 2011 8:34 AM
    >Subject: charleston passing
    >hi..didn't see my question answered but maybe i just missed it so..
    >if you stop the passing after first left it was always my understanding that it means you don't have 3 to pass. but then the person who stopped, passed 3 in optional. if you have 3 to pass in optional that means you could have passed three to keep the charleston going. is there a rule for this? thanks
    >cynthia

    Hi Cynthia,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers, I have compiled such questions into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to explore before writing to me. Please read Frequently Asked Question 19AG. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 21, 2011

    P.S. The rule says she may stop "for any reason." That doesn't mean you have to be happy about it. But she is within her rights.


    Reporting some broken links

    >From: Chris Schumann
    >Sent: Friday, October 21, 2011 4:22 AM
    >Subject: Kong88
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thought you might want to know that an online mahjong company went away. Kong88 is merging with another firm and took their site offline a few months ago. Their site is now a single page, but I imagine that will disappear some time.
    >Best,
    >Chris

    >From: Chris Schumann
    >Sent: Friday, October 21, 2011 5:17 AM
    >Subject: More Link Updates
    >Hi again, Tom,
    >I should have saved that last note, because I have more updates for FAQ 5.
    >- The link I sent you for mahjong2.swf is dead. This is the link I share:
    >http://www.niceclip.net/view/Mahjong2_play.htm
    >Since the game has a "niceclip" bug in the corner, this link should have a longer life.
    >In the Windows section:
    >- The Real Mah Jong (Grosse) is gone, as are all compuserve links.
    >- Chinitsu Mania appears to be gone.
    >- Mahjong Master (and chinesesoftware.com) is gone.
    >- Julian Bradfield's site is still up, but the online version at tumj.com is not.
    >- zoogi.com now appears to be a link farm.
    >- Your link to wmpa.net does not open in a new tab like your other links.
    >- Your link to boardgamecentral.net does not open in a new tab.
    >- The google directory link is dead.
    >- Globalamusement.net is gone.
    >- wx-e.com is gone, and proxad.net timed out.
    >- majakhouse.co.kr is reported as an attack host.
    >- majoritygames.com is a link farm.
    >- nickmania no longer has its mahjong game, and has not been updated in some time.
    >Online section:
    >- jadedragonmahjong.com times out.
    >- netmahjong.com goes somewhere else.
    >- Andrew Feist's post about playing 4Winds online is gone.
    >- Ed Pijl's site is gone.
    >- teaser.fr is gone.
    >- mjclub.com goes to a travel site.
    >- game.sina.com times out.
    >- sandboxstudios.com goes to dice.se, an EA company.
    >- singaporean.per.sg is gone.
    >- mahjong.sg looks like an empty web server.
    >- mjonline.com.tw appears to be present, but your link is not found.
    >- gmg.net is not set up properly and shows a blank page and an error.
    >- hijoy.co.kr is gone.
    >- sky116688 has moved to http://www.singaporemahjong.com/
    >- gravon.net has rules in German, but I didn't see any way to play.
    >- tomtomlabs.ch has no online play, but does make iPhone and MacOS mahjong games.
    >- betluck.co.uk appears to no longer have mahjong.
    >Best,
    >Chris

    Chris, that's awesome of you to let me know about all those. The changes have been made, in FAQs 4b and 5. Thanks very much.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 21, 2011


    Column 476 and rule 92e

    >From: "dkrumrei
    >Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2011 9:39 PM
    >Subject: Mah jongg rulings
    >Hi Tom.
    >I contacted you once a couple years ago, and got a great answer, and need some advice about two things that happened today.
    >1). In play today, I found that I had mah jongg immediately after the last (optional) Charleston pass. I was the dealer, so I had the required 14 tiles for mah jongg, before I discarded. None of us had every had this happen before, and did not know what to do. Is this a legitimate mah jongg, or was I required to discard and continue the play? If this is a legitimate mah jongg, what should be paid, the minimum amount on the card, or double as if I had drawn the tile myself?
    >2). Later in the day, we were playing with 3 people at the table. Two of the players were called dead during the play, at different times, due to an incorrect number of tiles in her hand (both had discarded before picking a tile) . When the second player was called dead, is the third player automatically the winner, or must she continue to play to mahjongg, and if she does not achieve mahjongg would it then be considered a "wall" game?
    >Thanks, Tom, for your expert advice once again!
    >Sharyn K

    Hi Sharyn, welcome back. You wrote:

    Is this a legitimate mah jongg
    Yes. You never have to discard a tile if you have a complete hand. Everybody pays you double. It's regarded as being self-pick.

    You can read column 476 and find out about "Heavenly Hand" (an even rarer event). You can link to the columns above left or by clicking the purple banner up top.

    When the second player was called dead, is the third player automatically the winner
    No. See rule 92e in my book. The hand is ruined. Everybody throw tiles in. Same dealer deals again.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 20, 2011


    More weird stuff my group does

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2011 9:59 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Referring back to my email question of 10/7 about why dead tiles have to go back on sloping rack: While looking in "RD & WW" for another answer, I found a good answer for previous question. On p. 101 at the end of the page it says, "When a player is called dead due to an erroneous exposure, the tiles in the erring exposure should be returned to the rack. This removes any unredeemable jokers from temptation." I would also think if there were less tiles on the exposing rack there would be less confusion as to which jokers could be redeemed.
    >
    >My questions are:
    >1. If you are called dead for any of the reasons on Page 100 under Death, do you also put your dead tiles back on your sloping rack? So if you are called dead all but previously exposed tiles (before the dead call) go back on the rack. right?
    >
    >2. This happened last week with a group of ladies who have been playing for a minimum of 3-4 years : Player called a discard, exposed 3 E and realized it was concealed and said she was dead which I said she couldn't do. (I was playing at the other table and was asked if she could call herself dead.) So the other 3 players decided not to call her dead and let her play to see if she exposed any jokers or discarded any tiles they may need. Do this make sense to you? Would she be wise not to expose anything and discard any jokers she may have or pick from the wall?
    >
    >3. This week, same group: player E had exposed 3 red dragons and a joker, 3 4 craks, 3 6 craks. Player W redeemed her joker and discarded it. Then the next time player W discarded a 2 crak and player E called a jokerless mah jongg. Three times more she discarded the winning tile for a pair. Both N and I questioned her playing techniques and the tiles she discarded. She didn't seem to realize that the tiles she discarded would enable the players to call mah jongg and she admitted that she had other tiles she could have discarded. One time there were 8 tiles left and she needed 2 tiles to call mah jongg and so she discarded the winning tile for me instead of breaking up her hand which she never does. What can the other players do, say, explain, etc. so she doesn't continue this kind of playing? Any help you can provide will be deeply appreciated as we are pulling our hair right now!
    >
    >4. Same day, different table: Three of the players had won a couple games each but one player hadn't won any games. One of the winners discarded the tile the losing player needed because, "She hadn't won any games." She felt sorry for her!!! I have told all the players that you have: to play a defensively even breaking up your own hand to prevent someone from calling mah jongg, to be very familiar with the card so you can figure out what hand other players are playing, to redeem a joker only if you can use it and I have given them printouts with mah jongg rules, etiquette, strategies, helpful hints, etc. What more can I do so we will have quicker, smoother, less stressful games. The teacher in me wants to give them a test to see what they really don't know and then have them study. One of them asked which dragons went with which suit last week!!! HELP!! Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn, you wrote:

    Referring back to my email question of 10/7 about why dead tiles have to go back on sloping rack: While looking in "RD & WW" for another answer, I found a good answer for previous question. On p. 101 at the end of the page it says, "When a player is called dead due to an erroneous exposure, the tiles in the erring exposure should be returned to the rack. This removes any unredeemable jokers from temptation." I would also think if there were less tiles on the exposing rack there would be less confusion as to which jokers could be redeemed.
    Yes. None of this means that these are reasons why the rule exists. These are ramifications of the rule, assuredly. But I can't say definitively that these are why the rule exists. Only the NMJL can say that.

    If you are called dead for any of the reasons on Page 100 under Death, do you also put your dead tiles back on your sloping rack?
    No. Only erroneously-exposed jokers are excluded from redemption. Jokers exposed properly are allowed to remain exposed - and are available for subsequent redemption.

    if you are called dead all but previously exposed tiles (before the dead call) go back on the rack. right?
    If you are called dead for an illegal or improper exposure (for example, maj in error), then all illegally or improperly exposed tiles go back on the rack. If you are called dead for something unrelated to an exposure, and your exposures are not clearly erroneous, then your exposures remain exposed.

    Do this make sense to you?
    No, it doesn't make sense to me why they think it's a good idea to let her continue playing after going dead.

    Would she be wise not to expose anything and discard any jokers she may have or pick from the wall?
    This isn't a question of what would be "wise" for her to do after being allowed to continue playing. It's a question of the rules. Her hand is dead; everybody knows it, but for some insane reason, nobody calls her dead. She wasn't allowed to make the one exposure she did make. She certainly isn't allowed to make any more -- she should be called dead if she does. She should break up her hand and play defensively from then on out.

    In fact, in Chinese Official rules, when you are "dead," that's what you are supposed to do -- keep on playing even though it's not possible for you to win.

    Player W redeemed her joker and discarded it.
    Why?? That's absolute nonsense. At my table, if I did that, the other 2 players would both ridicule me for making her jokerless. It's obvious that the remainder of her hand is 2 pairs, and it's obvious that she's close to making it.

    What can the other players do, say, explain, etc. so she doesn't continue this kind of playing?
    She doesn't care. She only wants to go for the win, no matter what. I would stop playing with her, unless she tells good jokes and bakes great cookies. (Just the jokes or the cookies alone would not be enough.) She has zero sportsmanship. Not the kind of person I would want to play with.

    What more can I do so we will have quicker, smoother, less stressful games.
    Your group wants to play their way, for the sake of togetherness, and the heck with "rules" and "strategy" and "doing it the way the designers intended." That is not what they are interested in.

    And even beyond that, you can't ask them what they want. They would change their minds the first time you tried to give them what they say they want.

    You have to understand their inner motivation for playing. They play for the social aspect of it, not to be good at it. Let them do what they will. When they ask for a ruling, you can give it. But you can't expect them to memorize it, or to change their behavior.

    If there are some players who want to play "the right way," maybe you can arrange it so those people always play together, and the ones who are only in it for the social aspect can play however they want.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 20, 2011


    Erroneous discard and then part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 4:12 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Referring to
    >Erroneous discard and then mah-jongg from Ray & Ruth on 10/17: In "RD&WW on p. 63 #100 it says "If a player plays out of turn...". As I understand the question, it was the player's turn, she didn't want the discard, forgot to pick from the wall and discarded from her rack leaving her with 12 tiles. Her discard was called for mah jongg. It doesn't say anyone called her dead so according to "RD&WW" p. 101, lower 1/2 of page it says "You are supposed to play defensively until someone else calls you dead." So for that particular player she would have to be called dead in order to stop playing but I would think player would have called mah jongg with the green dragon before another player noticed/counted her tiles. If no player called her dead before mah jongg was declared I would think everyone should pay winner and green dragon discarder would pay double. Does this make sense? Miss your strategy column. Lynn P

    Hi Lynn, you wrote:

    As I understand the question, it was the player's turn
    Interesting. As I understood it, it wasn't. A player can call a discard out of turn. Then, changing her mind (why is it we keep coming back to players changing their minds??), she can be flustered and discard erroneously.

    The important thing about what you say is that perhaps this is a case where seat position (of the caller relative to the discarder) may determine what the penalty should be.

    If the discarder was seated to the player's left, then it was her turn, but she essentially discarded before picking, and her discard gave another player the win. She should pay double, as you say.

    If the discarder was seated across from the player or at her right, then it was not her turn, but she is allowed to call the discard - then after she changed her mind and discarded, she was playing out of turn, so should pay for the table.

    So, which was it? I wasn't paying attention as closely as I should have, but Ruth said East was the erroneous discarder, and North won on her discard. Ruth didn't say, however, who discarded the tile East initially called and then changed her mind about taking.

    Ruth's question assumed that the fact that East killed herself with her discard was important. It wasn't. The important thing was that East's discard completed someone's hand. The "mah-jongg trumps everything" rule kicks in. Somebody said mah-jongg, so the hand has to stop. And somebody has to pay.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 18, 2011


    Value of my Lowe set

    >From: Jennie & Bill
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 4:15 PM
    >Subject: ES Lowe Mah Jong Set Circa 1951 What is it Worth?
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for posting your column - as a new MJ player, it has been such a help! I just purchased this E.S. Lowe set for $30 and am wondering what its worth is. I am thinking of keeping the set and putting stickers on the extra flowers to make them jokers. Two questions: Will putting stickers on the flowers decrease the set's worth? Also, what is the approximate worth of this set. Thanks in advance for your help and expertise.Jennie [last name and hometown deleted]
    >Items in Set:
    >152 tiles - all bams, cracks and dots are present; Total of 14 flowers; 2 jokers labeled "Mah-Lowe Joker" 1 is green, 1 is red; Condition: Good to Very good. I don't see any cracks in the tiles on front or back. The paint is worn off in a few spots on the flowers, but all tiles are still easy to read. The tiles are a deep butterscotch color. There are 2 types of flowers - 5 "travelers" and 9 "emperors". Size of Tiles: 13/16" x 1 3/16" x 1/2"
    >4 plastic Catalin racks: Condition Fair. Plastic is in good condition with no cracks.. Metal chip holder on each rack has bend-over type chip pole, but metal looks like brass coating is tarnished and flaked off and in poor condition.
    >2 Red plastic dice - Condition: Very good. No noticeable defects.
    >1 Bettor Wheel - Condition: Very good.
    >2 plastic boxes for the tiles. Condition - Good to Very good. No funny smells. They are clean, but 2 lower corners on the underside of the boxes are slightly worn
    >Carrying Case: Condition - Fair to Poor. The outside of the box is an artificial alligator look, and there is scotch tape on the box, which may be able to be removed. The inside of the box is in very good shape - the inside cover is lined with green felt. There is a fabric label in the upper right hand corner that says: E.S. Lowe N.Y., Made in USA, Exclusive Lowe Creation. The metal clasps, etc. all work and the case opens and closes easily.
    >There are no instruction manuals or any type of betting chips.
    >What are Tiles Made of and Age of Set: after looking at the Charli's Mah Jong website, it appears to be a circa early 1950's Catalin set. He has pictures of one posted that looks just like this one.
    >Please see attached photos - thanks again.

    Hello Jennie, you asked:

    Will putting stickers on the flowers decrease the set's worth?
    It depends. It depends on the attractiveness of the stickers and on the intent of the buyer (her reason for buying the set). If she's a collector, don't put stickers on. If she wants to play with the set, it needs stickers -- but she can pick them out and put them on.

    what is the approximate worth of this set.
    Well, let's see. The case is crappy on the outside, with that tape all around it. The rack metal is tarnished and the plating is flaking off. The tiles themselves are in reasonable condition, you say, but I wonder if they are shiny or worn, dull. No coins, but players of American mah-jongg won't care about that.

    The set may be fixable. If the tape can be removed and the case surface cleaned, and if the brass can be shined up, so that the set looks attractive, and you write a skillful pitch, it might go for $150-200. But as it is, it's a fixer-upper. Under $100 (but probably more than the $30 that you paid).

    Your actual mileage may vary.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 18, 2011


    Erroneous discard and then mah-jongg

    From: Ray & Ruth S
    Sent: Monday, October 17, 2011 3:19 PM
    Subject: discard in error
    Tom,
    When a tile is discarded in error, may it be claimed for Maj Jongg? A question came up today that we had never dealt with before. In the middle of play, East called for a tile, which she did not pick up, then decided that she didn't want it. She then discarded (in error) a green dragon which north claimed for Mah Jongg. Is this a valid Mah Jongg? Obviously, East now has only 12 tiles and is dead.
    Thanks for your help.
    Ruth

    Hello Ruth,
    Look in the official NMJL rulebook. This is covered. The discarder pays four times the value of the hand (in other words, she "pays for the table"), and nobody else pays. In my book, this is rule #100, on page 63.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 17, 2011


    Graduation time, part 2

    >From: Joe Carl P
    >Cc: Berry P; Danny F; Lee C
    >Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2011 9:20 PM
    >Subject: Followup on your reply to my previous query 10/14
    >Tom
    >The game I think we play is somewhere between Classical Chinese and "Vanilla" Western" - in fact, in FAQ 2b, I don't see much difference between the two. As I said earlier, I learned the game when I was 12, in the 50s, from some kids who had lived in Thailand and learned the game there (from other Americans). That was in Australia (my dad was a diplomat). Since then almost everybody I have played with is someone to whom I taught the game. I've recommended Thompson & Maloney to everyone - it was my favorite until I discovered The Red Dragon & The West Wind, and still in fact is simpler and more graphic for beginners.
    >
    >The way we play: The dealer does both rolls of the dice; the deal proceeds through the wall in a counterclockwise direction, as you describe in "Chinese Official," as opposed to the clockwise deal in your simplified rules; discards are placed at random, not lined up. Other than that, the rules we play by seem to closely resemble the ones you give in the "Chinese Official" section of TRDTWW. Of course, we have many little idiosyncratic rules that reflect the whims that kids develop, since I learned as a child.
    >
    >Now, the rules I use for change of round: when the new round starts, the identity of seats doesn't change, but the deal shifts counterclockwise so that the new dealer is the new prevailing wind. I have also had the seat identity change, but the deal skips to the new prevailing wind. I have never done the actual physical seat change you describe in TRDTWW, but that sounds intriguing. How is the round change accomplished in the Classical Chinese and the "Vanilla" Western? And, what method do you recommend for me?
    >
    >Tom, I just recently discovered sloperama.com, and you, after over 50 years of playing the game. What a wonderful thing it is that you have done! Thanks for dealing with my problem, and just for being there. May the lucky Winds and Dragons smile on your fortune.
    >Regards, Joe Carl

    Hi Joe Carl et al,
    Joe Carl wrote:

    The game I think we play is somewhere between Classical Chinese and "Vanilla" Western" - in fact, in FAQ 2b, I don't see much difference between the two.
    The difference is that in Western (which I also refer to as "British Empire mah-jongg"), there are numerous special hands that were created by Westerners, and are not found in any Chinese variant. And Western/British rules also add a special move called the goulash. Some Western/British variants also add special restrictions such as a limit on the number of chows in a freeform hand - and other variations as well. See, for instance, my column on Mumbai Style, and my report on my trip to India. See column 399 and http://www.sloperama.com/Mumbai/mumbai1.htm.

    The dealer does both rolls of the dice;
    Okay, so the dealer rolls twice. Once to determine which wall to break, and once for the count on that wall -- without adding the two rolls together?

    the deal proceeds through the wall in a counterclockwise direction, as you describe in "Chinese Official," as opposed to the clockwise deal in your simplified rules;
    In FAQ 10, I state: "Players take turns counterclockwise, removing tiles clockwise from the wall." That's the same way it works in all forms of mah-jongg, including Chinese Official. See the diagram in FAQ 10 and in my book.

    Of course, we have many little idiosyncratic rules
    That's okay. As I wrote in FAQ 14.

    the rules I use for change of round: when the new round starts, the identity of seats doesn't change, but the deal shifts counterclockwise so that the new dealer is the new prevailing wind.
    The way it's supposed to work is that the dealer is always East. Counterclockwise from the dealer, the seats are ordered ESWN. Always. So every time the deal moves, a player's seat wind changes, and everybody who has truly "graduated" from Simplified Rules learns to "deal with it."

    I have also had the seat identity change, but the deal skips to the new prevailing wind.
    I don't understand, but it sounds incorrect to me. The dice always move counterclockwise around the table, only staying with a dealer if the dealer wins. The dealer is always East.

    I have never done the actual physical seat change you describe in TRDTWW, but that sounds intriguing.
    That's only done when players have played continuously for a fair amount of time. Chinese Official makes it happen every round, because it's a tournament situation and players need to not be hamstrung by an unfortunate seating arrangement. In ordinary circumstances (when not at a tournament), it needn't be done more than once every 2 hours or so (that would probably be two rounds).

    How is the round change accomplished in the Classical Chinese
    Seats aren't changed. The wind indicator is flipped or changed (depending on type of wind indicator - see FAQ 7D). Whereas in the first round, the first dealer was "double East," now his seat is East again but the round is South - and the player to his right is "double South."

    and the "Vanilla" Western? And, what method do you recommend for me?
    Same as for CC. Western/British is a modification of CC, and this practice was not modified. And that's what I recommend for you.

    Tom, I just recently discovered sloperama.com, and you, after over 50 years of playing the game. What a wonderful thing it is that you have done!
    I love hearing that! (^_^) May the mah-jongg gods not mess with your head too much henceforth.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 15, 2011


    Graduation time

    >From: Joe Carl P
    >To: Webmaster
    >Cc: Berry P; Danny F; Lee C
    >Sent: Friday, October 14, 2011 2:01 PM
    >Subject: Expansion on the question of what happens between rounds..
    >Tom--
    >Under "Game Structure" in your wonderful simplified rules, you say "I don't want to complicate things by describing the way it's really done." Me and my partners have played it several ways (I'm 68, and have been playing since I was 12!), but we'd like to know how the Chinese really do it - "it" meaning how the transition takes place from one prevailing wind to another. Please complicate things!
    >Thanks, and may the lucky dragons look favorably on you.
    >Regards - Joe Carl

    Hi Joe Carl (and Berry and Danny and Lee),
    So, you're ready to graduate from simplified rules to a real Chinese rule set (not Japanese, not Filipino, not Vietnamese, not British Empire). Now it's a matter of which Chinese rules. Taiwanese? Shanghai? Hong Kong? Official Competition? World Series?
    My recommendation is that you read FAQ 2a, see how those 5 (the 5 most widely played and/or best documented) differ, and pick one based on your group's needs. Do you want simple scoring, or highest scoring, or do you want to play in a world tournament? Then, using the info in FAQ 2a and 2b, you ought to be able to decide which rule set you want to play.
    Then you ought to get a book (FAQ 3) or (almost as good) a print out the rules from a website (FAQ 4b).
    Once I know which rule set you decided on, tell me what ways of changing winds you've tried, and I can tell you what's what. But right now I don't know which way you want to go or what you've tried, so I'm kind of stuck.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 14, 2011


    Yet another "change of heart" question (not covered by the rules)

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, October 14, 2011 3:48 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: While playing American mah jongg today player A had 3 red dragons and a joker exposed on her rack. Player B picked a red dragon from the wall and redeemed player A's joker but before she racked it she said she had made a mistake and couldn't use it. She discarded it but questioned that since she hadn't racked it, could she have taken back the red dragon and put the joker back on player A's rack. (In our discussion another player said by taking a joker and then just discarding it could maybe make a player jokeless if she happened to call mah jongg and was not a good play to make.) I checked "RD&WW" but could not find reference to this occurrence, only that a player could not do a reverse redemption.
    >The discussion ended with a player saying, "Let Lynn ask Tom." See you are on first name basis with my mah jongg group. They are eagerly awaiting your response. Below are their questions:
    >1. Could Player B take back the red dragon and return the joker to its former place since she didn't rack the joker? 2. Would not racking joker have any bearing on what she could or couldn't do? 3. Is redeeming a joker like taking from the wall-you move or lift it and it's yours? 4. Any thing else we should know about above occurrence? We all enjoy your columns and thank you immensely for all your excellent information. Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn, you wrote:

    She discarded [the redeemed joker and then asked,] since she hadn't racked it, could she have taken back the red dragon and put the joker back on player A's rack.
    People can't go around always blithely changing their minds after doing every darned thing. There shouldn't be an expectation that player's remorse should always translate into forgiveness.

    I checked "RD&WW" but could not find reference to this occurrence
    No, because not every possible manner in which player's remorse could evidence itself can be predicted -- and also because the NMJL has not issued a ruling on this case in the period of time for which I have yearly NMJL bulletins.

    So, what to do when there is no official rule? Compare the situation with similar situations that are covered by the official rules. See if there is a parallel, a logic that might apply.

    And in this case, we have a number of "change of heart" rules that do point us in a direction. If you check all the "change of heart" rules, you can see a common thread: once the player has made a physical move, she has committed herself to the move. Most of the time. (The one case where they draw an exception is the one about taking a discard: FAQ 19AM.2.)

    So, how about using the same logic: once a player has put a tile down somewhere, she's committed to leave it there, and can't take it back. Unless your group wants to be more forgiving. Just know that you will have to document all your forgiveable changes of heart, and make sure the group knows exactly what those are. So there, I think I've answered your 1 and 4.

    Yes - since she hadn't racked it, she could either rack it or discard it.

    Sure, why not.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 14, 2011


    O vaunted math genius, perform some combinatorial calculations for me

    >From: howard f
    >Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 2:47 PM
    >Subject: What are the odds?
    >As a long-time Mahj player, I had a very exciting experience at a tournament yesterday. I picked the 75 cent hand in both the morning and afternoon sessions of a 9 table tournament which enabled me to win both sessions. I've never seen this happen before and I wonder if you know what the odds are.
    >I enjoy your column and look forward to reading your answer.
    >Carol F
    >Port Charlotte, FL

    Hi Carol,
    Well, you can stop wondering. I have no idea. If I was that talented with math, I would be an astrophysicist instead of a game producer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 13, 2011


    A mah-jongg program for my handheld

    >From: Paula L
    >Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 3:09 PM
    >Subject: Mahjong applic. for IPod Touch
    >Hi Tom,
    >Does anyone know of a multiplayer mahjong application to install on an IPod Touch, preferably of the Chinese Official category? I could only find solitaire mahjong apps in my research...
    >Tks in advance
    >Paula L

    Hi Paula,
    I have compiled everything I know into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to explore before writing to me. The one you want is FAQ 5. I can't guarantee it contains what you seek, but it contains everything I know about software for mah-jongg. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 13, 2011


    I miss your column!!

    >From: Nancy W
    >Sent: Monday, October 10, 2011 4:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I miss your column!! hope all is well.
    >Nancy W

    All is well, Nancy, but I have been focusing my energies on my teaching and an upcoming speech, and a recent trip back east to see family. Didn't have enough energy left over for continuing the column every week. Will be revisiting the column from time to time - especially whenever a new card comes out.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    10/10/11


    A computer mah-jongg program with A.I. bots to play against (FAQ 5)

    >From: Louise R
    >Sent: Monday, October 10, 2011 2:25 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I love your column. The examples of offense and defense are especially helpful. I do not want to play with people on line-but I would love a site that allows you to play against the computer. Is this an option? I have only played a few months-but I play often. I am looking for ways to practice.
    >Thank you.

    Hi Louise,
    I'm going out on a limb and guessing that you play American mah-jongg. FAQ 5 ("Frequently Asked Question" #5) lists one place you can find American-style software with A.I. bots to play against. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ), and click FAQ 5. American-style mah-jongg is the first-listed category.
    Glad you find the column helpful!

    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    10/10/2011


    Am I ready for this?

    >From: Lynn M
    >Sent: Saturday, October 8, 2011 6:43 PM
    >Subject: Contemplating going to my first tournament
    >Hi Tom,
    >How do I know when I'm ready to go to an American MJ tournament? I've been playing for a few years and feel pretty confident in the game, but the group I play with doesn't play quickly, so I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up. We often take 30 minutes for a game (although I think I'm one of the faster players). We're also not sticklers for the rules, although we know them (for instance, we probably wouldn't call someone dead except for MJ in error... just let them correct their mistake and keep playing, for less major goofs.) I'm not expecting to win; just want to experience a tournament. But I don't want to ruin it for anyone else, either. Any tips on how to prepare or on how to know one is ready?
    >Lynn

    Hi Lynn,
    Hmm. Lotta points to reply to.

    How do I know when I'm ready... I've been playing for a few years...
    If you wait until you know you're ready, you may never make it. Just sign up and go.

    the group I play with doesn't play quickly, so I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up.
    I wrote about this in my book. When I started playing, I quickly realized that my main challenge was simply keeping up. If you just set your mind to keep up, and stop worrying about winning, you'll learn to keep up, and the winning will come.

    We often take 30 minutes for a game
    Normal length of one hand is 15 minutes. You can do it.

    We're also not sticklers for the rules
    You don't have to be the one to call someone dead at the tournament. There'll be plenty of players ready to take on that duty. But be ready to get called dead. It's happened to me. Just suck it up and sit it out, then jump into the next hand with both feet.

    I'm not expecting to win; just want to experience a tournament.
    That attitude will work.

    I don't want to ruin it for anyone else
    Just focus on playing quickly (same speed as everyone else). You will be surprised how easy it is.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 8, 2011


    Please explain why

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, October 7, 2011 5:39 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Playing American mah jongg today, a player called mah jongg but was called dead. (She had exposed a kong of flowers and her hand was concealed.) I said she should put all her tiles except the flowers in her sloping rack. She said she didn't have to and another player agreed. I said that was the "rule" and the fourth player said it didn't make any difference where the tiles were since we couldn't take any of the jokers. Please explain why a dead player should put her tiles back on her sloping rack and not leave them exposed other than it being a rule if it is. I really enjoyed your emails about teaching a class how to play mah jongg the past few emails. I learned something new!! The tiles have been with me lately so I am a happy mah jongger. Thanks for your continued help. I missed your strategy columns last month. You must have been busy! Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn, you wrote:

    Please explain why a dead player should put her tiles back on her sloping rack
    I can't. I can make guesses, but only the NMJL can justify their rules. I recommend you send them a letter, not call them by phone (see FAQ 19BN).

    I really enjoyed your emails about teaching a class how to play mah jongg the past few emails.
    Good - I'm glad!

    I missed your strategy columns last month. You must have been busy!
    Most definitely. Thanks for understanding. Even busier times coming up...
    May the tiles continue to be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 7, 2011


    Teaching how to select a hand, Part 3

    >From: Lynn M
    >Sent: Thursday, October 6, 2011 1:32 PM
    >Subject: Teaching how to select a hand, Part 3
    >Hooray, Tom, I followed your advice of having just ONE table playing and having everyone's tiles exposed while we played, and it worked BEAUTIFULLY! I had eleven students today, and stressed the importance of letting me do most of the talking so everyone could hear. I saw the lightbulbs lighting up over several students' heads as they began to really "get" the game. They loved it, and said they want to do it this way again next week, rather than playing several tables with tiles hidden. I was worried that the more advanced students would be bored, but I asked for four volunteers to sit at the racks who were feeling pretty comfortable with the game, and of course the more experienced ones volunteered, so their interest was maintained throughout. I had them each "think out loud" about what hand they were leaning toward, why they were discarding what they were discarding, etc. This prompted lots of questions from the observers, which was great once they got the idea that they had to raise their hands and ask one at a time, and ask ME rather than each other! So, thanks for your great suggestion.
    >BTW, I thought you'd like to know about a mah jongg small world experience that you & I have just had! My good friend, Laurie, was visiting last weekend from Cincinnati and I told her that I had been corresponding with you about my MJ class (she isn't a MJ player). She said, "Tom Sloper... that sounds familiar. I think my friend Sandy has a friend by that name." Sure enough, a phone call to Sandy confirmed that she has known you for decades. I've only met Sandy (who isn't a MJ player, either, as I understand it) a few times, but it was fun to discover this unexpected connection.
    >Lynn

    Lynn,
    I'm delighted that my random meandering diatribe actually contained some gems of useful advice for you! And that's really amazing that you found a connection through my dear friend Sandy (from my pre-mah-jongg Cincinnati days)!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 6, 2011


    When can I redeem a joker? (FAQ 19M)

    >From: Geoffrey V. W
    >Sent: Monday, October 3, 2011 8:12 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: If I want to take a joker from a part of a hand that is exposed and replace it with the tile to complete the exposed pung or kong, must I do that before I pick a tile? Which is the proper order to do this?
    >Thank you

    Welcome to my website, Geoffrey. You've asked questions that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers, I have compiled them into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask newcomers to explore before writing to me. Please read Frequently Asked Question 19M. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    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

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 3, 2011


    Teaching the NMJL card, part 2

    >From: Lynn M
    >Sent: Monday, October 3, 2011 11:01 AM
    >Subject: More on teaching how to select a hand
    >Hi again, Tom
    >Thanks for your detailed answer about teaching the NMJL card. I was interested in your statement that you want the students to be playing at every session so that learning can be fun. I have tried to do this, too, using just components of the game, or simplified versions of the game in the early sessions.
    >Re: your comment about the difficulty of having several tables of students, we're doing *pretty* well in this regard (with reminders from me to keep the talking to a minimum, so everyone can hear!). I've thought of getting MJ kards (and an oversized rack to put them on) so that I can demonstrate from the front of the classroom, and they can then follow along using the tiles at their table. But I haven't actually tried this yet.
    >But actually, my question is more focused on how to teach selecting a hand once you've been dealt your tiles. I taught the NMJL card in the 2nd session and I think most of my students "got" it. In the 3rd session (how to select a hand), I talked about following the steps of (1) organizing the tiles by suits, etc. (2) looking for pairs & then hand(s) that use all pairs, (3) rearranging tiles to match various sections (odds, evens, high, low, jokers, no jokers, etc.), (4) counting how many tiles apply to each section & going for one or two sections, and (5) choosing one or two hands that use the most tiles on your rack. (and I gave them a handout with this info). Then I had them build/break the wall, deal and start to play. But I think they were overwhelmed with selecting a hand - most felt as though all they had was a "jumble" (and I remember feeling that way when I was learning, too!). Can you suggest any strategies/exercises for breaking down the process into more manageable pieces, or do they really just need to jump in and start playing (and eventually it will start to make sense)?
    >Ever grateful,
    >Lynn

    Hi Lynn,
    I, too, teach the same thing as your step 1.
    But I don't point them to pairs hands in step 2. I stress the importance of the pairs, only as a clue to a direction to go in. The thing I stress for step 2 is to identify possible "families" of hands (2468, 13579, Consec., etc.) based on pairs and tile count.
    I don't tell them to do your step 3. Instead, I go around the table (to the 4 racks, since there is only one table), and offer examples based on a random deal. Each rack's tiles are on top of the rack for all to see, and I show how the tiles might be used.
    Your step 4 is reasonable. What I do instead, though, is to have them do a process of elimination on families for the first 1 or 2 passes, before narrowing down to 1 or 2 hands (unless the tiles are clearly 1 or 2 hands).
    Your step 5 is reasonable.
    No, I do not tell them to just jump in and start playing after one explanation. I have them play lesson 3, at one table, with their tiles all exposed, so I can advise (and so everyone can learn from how I answer their questions during the play). The point of lesson 3 is to learn, not to win (some of them don't get that).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 3, 2011


    Individual replacement hanafuda, part 2

    >From: Brandi W
    >Sent: Monday, October 3, 2011 6:03 AM
    >Subject: Re[2]: Any help on how to find extra hanafuda cards?
    >No worries. I can't say I'm surprised about the cards, but I suspect
    >that I can probably figure out a scan from a gaming book that can be
    >printed on some contact paper and put onto the blank to make it at
    >least look nicer.
    >Thank you again.
    >--
    >Brandi

    Hope that works out satisfactorily, Brandi. Glad you have the blank card.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    탐 슬로퍼
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 3, 2011


    Individual replacement hanafuda cards

    >From: Brandi W
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2:56 PM
    >Subject: Any help on how to find extra hanafuda cards?
    > While your Mah Jongg FAQ covers searching for new tiles well, I
    > didn't really see anything in your Hanafuda section. I found a
    > pretty little deck at a local thrift store, but one card was missing
    > (the blank was there to fill its place). I'd like to figure out how
    > to find the replacement (or the best way to print up a new face to
    > stick on the blank!).
    >--
    >Brandi

    Hi Brandi,
    I owe you an apology. You emailed me almost 2 weeks ago and your email fell through the cracks.
    So I'm doubly sorry to have to tell you that yours is an impossible quest.
    Replacement mahjong tiles are strictly a Western phenomenon. In China, players are very superstitious about everything - including used mahjong sets. Chinese people don't buy used mahjong sets, and would not want to get a replacement tile for an old set. They'd throw out the old set (and throw out all its bad joss, its bad karma, its bad luck, along with it).
    And the Japanese are very status-conscious. It looks bad to the neighbors if someone can't just dump a mahjong set when a tile goes bad or missing -- the thing to do would be to buy a new set.
    So that's the story on mahjong tiles. Now let's talk about hanafuda.
    Japanese hanafuda players would just dump an old deck and buy a new one rather than expect to find a replacement somewhere. If you had a particular deck of playing cards, and your dog chewed the Queen of Diamonds, wouldn't you just go get a new deck? A new QD would be shinier and be obviously out of place with the rest, even if it was a perfect match.
    Here in the US, mahjong is vastly more popular than hanafuda. The market here supports the concept of replacement tiles. For mahjong. But consider: if you tell 10 people in America that you play mahjong, 9 of them will ask "what's that?" But if you tell 100 people in America that you play hanafuda, 99.9 of them will have no idea what you're talking about. The hanafuda market here does not support the concept of replacement tiles.
    But you're welcome to post a request on the mahjong tiles wanted bulletin board, if you want to try.
    Another possibility would be to make one yourself. It would only work if your deck has a spare card. You could sticker over the face of the spare.

    My apologies again for letting your question slip through the cracks. And sorry again that I couldn't give you a happier answer. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 2, 2011


    Paint, part 2

    >From: Michael Stanwick
    >Sent: Sunday, October 2, 2011 2:32 PM
    >Subject: Paint
    >Tom, i regularly had to put paint into my counting sticks. I used fine tipped felt pens of the colours needed. If necessary I shaved the felt tips to get very fine points. Worked a treat!
    >Cheers
    >Michael Stanwick
    >Sent from my iPad

    Thanks, Michael. I'll add that tip to FAQ 7o.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 2, 2011


    Broken link

    >From: "d23shearer
    >Sent: Saturday, October 1, 2011 8:13 PM
    >Subject: Web site link problem
    >Dear Tom,
    >Just thought you would like to know about a link that needs fixing.
    >When I tried to go to the link in yellow below, it went to a shopping site that is in Korean. I was trying to follow the link you meant to go to Korean 3 player rules. Can you let me know the correct URL?
    >Thanks for everything! We are having so much fun learning about Mah Jong and like your site for all its variety. YOU are the MASTER of Mah Jong!
    >Linda from East Moline
    >FAQ 13B. ... You can also click here to jump to http://koreanmahjong.ce.ro/ where the Korean 3-player rules are described. ...

    Hi Linda,
    Thanks for letting me know that link was sending people to a paid links parking site (guess the site's creator didn't renew the domain, and it got highjacked by the, um, whatever kind of company owns URLs once they expire). I Googled three-player Korean mahjong and found a replacement site to link to instead.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 2, 2011


    FAQ 13B (3 players, Western rules) - part 2

    >From: "d23shearer
    >Sent: Saturday, October 1, 2011 9:17 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A about Western Play with 3 players
    >Dear Tom,
    >Thanks for the speedy reply about Western play with less than 4 players! And the links to the FAQ answer made it easy to find, too.
    >Since I am the one that made up our "score card reference" for our growing group, I will use your wise advice and put together a proposed set of Table Rules for less than 4 players.
    >We share our books with new players until they can purchase their own, so more and more players are learning from the book to which you added new material! And now I can tell them about your website, as more of them are wanting to buy their own Mah Jong sets, or have inherited one from someone.
    >And may the tiles be WITH YOU, TOM!
    >Linda

    So glad my answer was helpful, Linda. Keep on playin'!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    탐 슬로퍼
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Rochester, NY
    October 2, 2011


    Teaching the NMJL card

    >From: Lynn M
    >Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 7:49 PM
    >Subject: Question about teaching mah jongg
    >I'm a first-time mah jongg teacher (volunteer position teaching age 50+ folks) and have been creating lesson plans and handouts as I go. Today was the 3rd of 10 sessions, and I started the topic of "how to select a hand from the NMJL card" and I think the students were a tad overwhelmed - is this unavoidable at this point in learning the game, or do you have any suggestions/resources for fun group exercises that can help this feel more manageable to beginners? (I have 14 students.) I think the exercises in your strategy column are too advanced at this point. I've ordered a CD called "Teach/Learn American Mah Jongg" from the Jewish Heritage Museum in NYC hoping for some ideas, but do you have any other suggestions?
    >Thanks a million. I LOVE your website!
    >Lynn

    Hi Lynn,
    The card IS the most difficult thing to teach (and the most difficult thing for an NMJL player to learn). First I make sure the students all know how to understand what the hands on the cards are about. I show them examples, by making hands with actual tiles, and encouraging them to use tiles to make hands from the card. I start at the upper left corner and explain the 2011 hands first. Then I walk them down to 2468.
    With a large group (you said 14?!) I have to go slower, because there are bound to be some who are slower to pick it up. It often happens that someone in the group simply can't get it (the NMJL card is not for everyone).
    Also, with 14 people, it would be hard to have them all at one table with one set of tiles (you need an oversized table, and long-handled backscratchers to reach for tiles). But it becomes impossible to teach 14 ladies if they're at different tables, because then they wind up talking to each other, with the slower students asking the quicker students for a translation of what the teacher is saying, and getting possibly erroneous or confusing explanations. The teacher can spend more time trying to get everyone's attention than conveying information.
    I find that the Consecutive Runs section is the section that gives the slower players the most trouble. So I don't get to that one until after Quints.
    It must be repeated numerous times (and stated in numerous ways so that the point gets across) that the colors do not dictate a suit, and that in Consec., a number does not necessarily dictate a number. Examples must be shown. It takes sufficiently long to teach the reading of the card that that particular lesson can be tedious, especially for the quicker players who already get it -- and they put pressure on the slower players (or the slower players perceive pressure), and the slower players may even pretend to get it just so the class can move on. I want the students to be playing in every session, so that the learning can be fun. This session is often not nearly as much fun as the others.
    Hmm... I kind of rattled on there. And I don't know if I helped you or not!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    탐 슬로퍼
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Rochester, NY
    October 2, 2011


    FAQ 13B (3 players, Western rules)

    >From: "d23shearer
    >Sent: Friday, September 30, 2011 8:44 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A about Western Play with 3 players
    >My Mah Jong comment or question is:
    >Our novice Mah Jong group is using the following book: Mah Jong, Anyone? A Manual of Western Play Revis ed Edition by Kitty Strauser, Lucille Evans w i th new material b y Tom S l oper.
    >1. Western Play, with 3players (instead of 4), does the fourth wall get treated as a player: e.g. do we draw tiles for that position or not?
    >2. And when Charleston or Ding Dong trades are made, who does the East Wind player trade with first? To the right, the left or the "wall?" When do the other two players trade...after the East Wind player has traded with them both?
    >3. And when trading, where in the wall does one draw from, ...and where in the wall does a player place the tiles given up in the trade?
    >Thank you so much for helping us with these questions, as sometimes we have less than 4 players at a table.
    >I also enjoy visiting your extensive and informative web site. I have checked it to learn that my 1920's set is probably bone and bamboo, and how to clean it. I like all the history you have as well! Keep up the good work!
    >Linda

    Hi Linda,
    Welcome to my website.

    The wall is the wall. The wall has nothing to do with how many people are seated at the table, or where people are seated at the table. If it was a cards drawpile instead of a wall, you wouldn't skip using 1/4 of the deck starting 1/4 of the way into the deck because seat 2 is empty. Or, if you were asking if tiles should be dealt to that seat, the answer is no.

    Personally, I would skip the trading entirely when playing with 3 players. But check FAQ 13B and see if that works for you. If it doesn't work for you, then work out the details to suit your group's preferences. Read FAQ 14 also.

    You'll have to try some things and decide what method your group prefers. It's probable that there are a variety of different table practices, as explained in FAQ 14. Personally, I would skip the passing, if I could convince my group to do so.

    I'm glad you find my site helpful, Linda. Sorry that this particular question doesn't come with a happy straightforward cut-and-dried answer.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    탐 슬로퍼
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Rochester, NY
    10/1/11


    Paint

    >From: Michael M
    >Sent: Saturday, October 1, 2011 1:50 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jong counters
    >Tom
    > Are you aware of any way of putting red and blue colour back into the dots on counting sticks? I assume it is some paste type paint that you wipe in and quickly wipe off ???
    > Michael M

    Hi Michael,
    Personally, I would try using model airplane paint (hobbyist miniature paint), and a fine brush (as described in FAQ 7o (seven oh, not seventy - FAQ links are above left). Sorry that I'm not knowledgeable in the area of wipe-able paints... then again, I suppose artists' acrylic paint might work.
    You might need to experiment a little. Good luck, and have fun!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    탐 슬로퍼
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Rochester, NY
    10/1/11


      Color key


        Blue = an FAQ, a question that's been asked frequently.
        Purple = an unhappy email from a dissatisfied reader.
        Green = a happy email from a grateful reader.
        Red = a technical support question about a computer game.
        Orange = a weird or off-topic email.
        Black = none of the above. Regular question or comment.


    MORE Q&A!!
    CLICK HERE to go back in time and read older Mah-Jongg Q&A postings!
    CLICK HERE to return to the present and see the latest Mah-Jongg Q&A postings!


    See who's visiting this page. View Page Stats
    See who's visiting this page.

    © 2011 Tom Sloper. No part of this website may be re-published without written permission of the author.