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The 2021 NMJL Card (FAQ 16-2021)
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The Mah-Jongg FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What Is Mah-Jongg?
2a. Which MJ Rules To Learn?
2b. Which MJ Rules Do I Play?
3. Books on Mah-Jongg
  3b. 1920s Books
4a Teachers, and 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 For The Sight-Impaired
  7t. DIY Joker Stickers
  7u. Manufacturers
8. Strategy
9. Philosophy of Etiquette, Errors, & Harmony
10. MJ For Dummies
11. History of Mah-Jongg
   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. "Mah-Jongg Solitaire" Tile-Matching games
13. Fewer Than 4 Players?
  13a. 3P/2P/5P/6P 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. Hong Kong/Cantonese Scoring
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. Why won't the computer let me win Japanese Majan?
26. Teaching Tips
27. Table Rotation
28. Charleston-Stoppers

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The Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board


Hi. I'm Tom Sloper. Welcome to my bulletin board. Here you can ask questions about Mah-Jongg and get answers, usually the same day! But before you email, please check out the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). Also, someone else may have already asked your question, in which case s/he was answered below, on the Q&A board! You might enjoy looking through the Q&As. I get some crazy questions sometimes. Especially the crazy questions about a computer game when the person doesn't send a screenshot or doesn't even say which computer game they're asking about!

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    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!


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    The Q&As are below.


  • Penalty for throwing to 3 exposures?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, December 1, 2021, 07:35:20 PM PST, lise r wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: When playing for money, if a player has 3 exposures and another player throws the winning mah jongg tile to the 3-exposure hand, is it a NMJL rule that the person who threw the winning tile pays for everyone at the table? Or is that just a table rule?
    Thank you!
    Lise R
    Sent from my iPad

    Good morning, LIse
    That’s a tournament rule. Not a League rule.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 2, 2021
    Tucson, Arizona, USA


    Can I call a discard for a 2021?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, November 30, 2021, 05:42:04 PM PST, Suzanne D wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the year hand section, can a player call a discarded single tile for the 2021 group?
    Thank you,
    Suzanne
    Sent from my iPhone

    It depends, Suzanne. Does that completed 2021 complete the hand, give you mah-jongg? Read FAQ 19-E. You can bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card, and FAQ 19 for rules questions.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Some questions about the White Dragon

    White Dragon
    On Monday, November 22, 2021, 07:04:58 PM PST, Fiona H wrote:
    Where did the name for the white dragon "Soap" come from? Actually, the one in my set looks more like a Persian Rug, another nickname I've heard. A friend's set has a B" in the middle of the tile. We all know what hands they are used in, but why is there not a universal name for it, like Red or Green Dragon?
    Thanks, Fiona H

    Hi, Fiona! You asked:

    Where did the name for the white dragon "Soap" come from?
    When mah-jongg tiles were made of bone and bamboo, they were blank. When manufacturers first started using plastic, the tiles were blank on both sides, and looked like little bars of Ivory soap.

    Persian Rug, another nickname I've heard.
    I hadn't heard that one before! Nice.

    A friend's set has a B" in the middle of the tile.
    That stands for "bai-ban," the Chinese term for "blank tile."

    why is there not a universal name for it, like Red or Green Dragon?
    People like cute nicknames, and even Red and Green have different names.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 22, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Melanie C
    On Monday, November 22, 2021, 02:07:18 PM PST, service@paypal wrote:
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $20.00 USD from Melanie C
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $20.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Melanie C
    PayPal

    Thank you, Melanie! Very generous!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 22, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What does it mean when a hand is all one color?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, November 19, 2021, 12:45:43 PM PST, Susan J wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    3rd down in Singles and Pairs
    Do the pairs have to be same suit?
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Susan!
    The hand is printed in one color. The color-coding is explained on the back of the card. Left side, top paragraph. Your answer is on line 1: 1 color means 1 suit (any 1 suit).

    For any future questions about the 2021 card, see FAQ 16 (bookmark it!). If the back-of-the-card explanation of the color-coding isn't explanatory enough, see FAQ 19-BY.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 19, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    The 2021 card, part 42


    Does the discarder pay double twice if the hand is jokerless?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, November 18, 2021, 03:49:20 PM PST, Constance M wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: the 1st player correctly has mah-jongg with a joker-less hand that is not from the S&P section. Does the second player who discarded the tile that gave the 1st player mah-jongg pay her double twice? Once because she gave her the tile and double again because the hand is joker less?
    Thanks,
    Connie, Lake Forest IL

    Yes, Connie.
    Discarder pays double.
    Jokerless earns double.
    Therefore: double double.
    For a 25¢ hand, double once is 50¢, then double again is $1 (yes, the discarder pays a whole dollar, can you believe it! and the other two pay 50¢).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Somehow I ended up with 14 tiles.

    MahJongg Question
    On Saturday, November 13, 2021, 11:42:14 PM PST, lolak wrote:
    I needed a fourth tile of Red Dragons. I picked a tile but didn't discard it and proceeded to claim a joker that was exposed from the person sitting across from me. Somehow I ended up with 14 tiles.
    So my question is: To avoid that from happening, do I pick a tile and discard it before claiming the joker or do I rack it first, claim my joker and then discard the tile that I picked?
    I am asking because each player at my table had a different answer.
    Thank you, I didn't see this question on your list as far as I could see.
    Lola K

    Hi, Lola!
    I don't see a problem with the situation as you described it. Let's walk through what you described:

    1. The player at your left discarded a tile. I assume that at this point you were holding 13 tiles.
    2. You picked the tile at the end of the wall. Now you were holding 14 tiles. That's okay, because every time it's your turn, you bring a 14th tile into the hand. That's the way the game works.
    3. You redeemed a tile from another player. You were still holding 14 tiles. That's still okay.
    4. Now you didn't have mah-jongg, and if nobody was calling you dead and pausing the game while everybody discusses the "problem" of you holding 14 tiles, you would have discarded a tile. You would be left holding 13 tiles. No problem.

    FAQ 19-M describes the complete process for redeeming/exchanging a joker. When it is your turn, you must first bring a 14th tile into the hand. You're not allowed to redeem a joker if you have only 13 tiles in the hand at the time.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 14, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I was taught to rack right away, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Thursday, November 11, 2021, 06:04:12 PM PST, Linda S wrote:
    Thanks for the reply....Linda

    You're welcome, Linda! Play safely.
    Tom


    If someone discards a redeemable tile... (part 3)

    Re: Mah Jongg Question
    On Thursday, November 11, 2021, 09:04:17 AM PST, beth b wrote:
    Thank you! The answer makes perfect sense

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


    If someone discards a redeemable tile... (part 2)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, November 11, 2021, 08:10:11 AM PST, Beth B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If player 2 has a three tile exposure: 6bam, 6bam & 1joker and player 1 discards a 6bam, may player 2 call the discarded 6bam and replace the joker with the 6bam and rack the joker into their own hand?
    Thanks, Beth B
    Sent from my iPhone

    No, Beth. Nobody can. Read FAQ 19-G2.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I was taught to rack right away to stop another player from calling

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 09:48:27 PM PST, Linda S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    We play with a gal that does not rack her tiles...she holds it up in her hand for a few seconds...which seems like forever; allowing any other player so much time to call the previous discard.
    This is driving me nuts. We have mentioned this several times but she continues to do it.
    Also we have a player that does not rack her tiles...she looks at it and discards it fast but tile was not RACKED...is that legal to play that way.
    I am curious because I was taught to rack the tile on your tray Right away and look at then....so there is no lapse of time,,,, to stop another player from calling the discarded tile..
    We have played several times together and we have a great time..but I would like to know the proper way to play.
    Thanks, Linda

    Good morning, Linda!
    Unfortunately, you were taught wrongly.
    There is no rule that says a player must rack the freshly-picked tile. It is perfectly legal to pick, look, and discard without racking.
    But I am especially taken aback by your teacher's justification for this alleged "rule" - to stop another player from calling the discarded tile. That's aggressive thinking, it's playing "keep away." The real reason for racking a tile is because you want to keep it. The rack-it principle is not a rule - it's a strategy (an aggressive strategy).
    I want to address some things you wrote:

    she holds it up in her hand for a few seconds...which seems like forever
    If it's more than three seconds, it is a long time. We'll come back to three seconds, so hold onto that thought.

    This is driving me nuts. We have mentioned this several times but she continues to do it.
    She is going to keep on continuing. You cannot make another person change. It's futile to try.

    In Chinese Majiang Competition Rules, there's a 3-second window of opportunity on a discard, whether or not the next player puts the tile into the hand (what Americans call "racking"). Because some American players interpret and use the NMJL's window of opportunity rules aggressively, I get emails from new players complaining that they don't have enough time to call a discard. I believe the 3-second window is fair and would resolve many complaints I hear from American players.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    11/11/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How does score doubling work in Singles & Pairs?

    On Monday, November 8, 2021, 12:03:16 PM PST, Cherie wrote:
    Mah Jongg question
    On singles & pairs. If the person does it them selves do they get money doubled? Is it automatically doubled again because it’s pure?
    So if I do it myself =$1.00 each person pays me? Or do I get paid $2.00 cause I did it myself & it’s pure?
    If someone gives it to me. What do they pay me?
    Thanks for any help…cherie y
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Cherie!
    The doubling rules are the same in S&P as in the rest of the card, except for the jokerless bonus, which cannot apply in an S&P hand since it's illegal to use jokers in those. You'll find the doubling rules on the back of the card at the lower left corner.


    Also on the back of the card, it explains that somebody always pays double - either the discarder or all the non-winners. Double 50¢ is indeed a dollar; double 75¢, though, is a dollar and a half. You probably already knew that! (^_^) I recommend reading the entire card once a year. You're welcome to ask me about specific wording on the card back, if you find any of it insufficiently explanatory.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A link to a historical document referenced in FAQ 11-H.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, November 7, 2021, 01:11:52 PM PST, hannoisph wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    An Internet link given
    and one asked.
    Hello always a pleasure to surf your Web site with such an amont of clear datas..... it some time make me think of the same serependy as searching through a dictionary...a word lead to an other, to a picture etc...
    Reading the FAQ 11 :
    1915 [Paris, France] George E. Mauger, "Quelques considérations sur les jeux
    I send send you a link to the french article. You can download a pdf by simply clicking the pdf icon on top left of the text.
    https://www.persee.fr/doc/bmsap_0037-8984_1915_num_6_5_8755
    By the way I wonder if you know a place to read on line the 1924 Judge magazine on the mahjongg craze....I have made some searches but haven't found yet.
    Regards
    Philippe
    France
    Envoyé depuis mon appareil Galaxy

    Bonjour, Philippe!
    Thanks so much for the link! I'll add that to the FAQ.
    And I'm sorry that I don't have any info on a source for that 1924 magazine.
    Encore, merci beaucoup. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Sloperama support-a-rama

    On Thursday, November 4, 2021, 04:18:03 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    Maximum amount you can bill $10.00 USD
    Next payment due Dec 4, 2021
    PayPal

    Thank you so much, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Taking jokers from an exposure while calling a tile

    On Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 06:16:01 PM PDT, <awishart wrote:
    Taking jokers from an exposure while calling a tile
    Hi Tom
    Can you call a tile and take jokers from an exposure at the same time? One of our players called, discarded and replaced jokers during her “call” is that allowed ?
    Thanks
    AnnaM
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Anna! You asked:

    Can you call a tile and take jokers from an exposure at the same time?
    Yes.

    One of our players called, discarded and replaced jokers during her “call” is that allowed ?
    No. Call her dead.

    Explanation: as explained more fully in FAQ 19-M, You can redeem a joker only when it is your turn. When it is your turn, you must first bring a 14th tile into the hand, before you can redeem a joker. There are two ways to bring a 14th tile into the hand - by picking from the wall OR by taking a discard for exposure. THEN, after picking (or after taking and exposing a COMPLETE* exposure), you may redeem jokers from atop anyone's rack (including your own).
    Then, if you have no more jokers to redeem, and assuming you don't have mah-jongg, you must discard a tile, ending your turn. In your #2 sentence above, your player redeemed a tile after discarding (she called, discarded and then replaced jokers). Redeeming out of turn is a death penalty offense (FAQ 19-AA).

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I change my exposure if I haven't discarded yet?

    On Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 04:16:40 PM PDT, jean wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If you call a tile and rack 4, then realize you only need three, can you place one back in your hand as long as its still your turn?
    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

    Yes, Jean. See FAQ 19-AF.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    There is a dispute on displaying jokers in an exposure


    On Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 01:10:04 PM PDT, Mary Grace B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    there is a dispute on displaying jokers in an exposure. for example:
    my exposure is: a kong of 2- 8 bams and 2 - jokers.
    the other two 8 bams have been discarded, making the two jokers in the exposure dead, (unable to exchange)
    the question is: some players want to turn the jokers over so other players know that it is no longer available to exchange.
    other players disagree and say leave the jokers face up, let the opposing players figure out for themselves if the jokers are exchangeable.
    is there a rule, or does it not matter.
    mgb

    Hi, Mary Grace!
    There is no rule that says dead jokers should be, or may be, turned face-down. Therefore the tiles should remain face-up.
    I understand the reasoning for turning them face-down, but turning them face-down caters to the lazy, and leaving the dead jokers face-up encourages use of the brain. Mah-jongg is, after all, a workout for the brain.*
    A rough analogy, perhaps ... Another rule that encourages use of the brain (and the eyes, not just the ears) is saying "same" when discarding a joker. The lazy "ears-only" player deserves what she gets when she eventually sees that at some point a joker was discarded. So, too, the player who keeps wondering if he can get an 8-bam to redeem a joker, really ought to scan the discard floor and observe the futility of that quest. And then just remember it for the few minutes the hand is going to last.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. By the way, you had Caps Lock on when you typed your email. Not everybody likes all-caps (it's considered "shouting" on the Web). - Tom

    P.P.S. Bridge columnist Frank Stewart used an interesting turn of phrase in his Nov. 4 column on bridge: "You can't be a mental tourist at bridge[.]" Just the same, you can't be a mental tourist at mah-jongg. Leave the jokers right-side-up, even if the tile they represent is dead. Look at the discards when they're discarded; don't just listen to the calls. - Tom


    What if two people claim a discard for pung? Who gets the tile?

    On Tuesday, November 2, 2021, 10:58:16 PM PDT, Rob wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If it is my turn and another player says PUNG but I want it to PUNG also, who has priority?
    Many thanks
    Di

    Hi, Di!
    Seat position matters. Since you were next in turn, the tile is yours. See FAQ 19-H for details on the "conflicting claims" rules in American mah-jongg.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She drapes her hand over her exposed tiles

    On Monday, November 1, 2021, 06:43:44 PM PDT, Gail G wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A woman, that I play with, you has a habit resting her hand on her rack and covering some tiles in or on her rack. When I tell her to move her had to uncover her tiles, she gets annoyed. Is the a Mah Jongg rule dealing with this behavior? I believe it is illegal to do this.
    Thank you,
    Gail
    Life is good!

    Don't you hate that, Gail?
    She's exhibiting poor etiquette, but when you try to talk about it, she gets annoyed. That's a difficult type of person to deal with.
    If she did this in a tournament, you could request a ruling from a judge, who would absolutely tell her to keep her hands to her side of her rack. Unfortunately, there is no rule on this in the rulebook. I discuss this particular bad habit on page 109 of my book and in FAQ 9, but my book and my website are not official. I wish the League would make it a rule that hands should not obscure discards, wall tiles, or players' exposed tiles.
    In the absence of an official rule, you can try to enlist the other players in your group in outlawing this behavior, if she doesn't have you all cowed.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    They said I used more than 2 suits

    On Monday, November 1, 2021, 10:01:54 AM PDT, ronald m wrote:
    Use of soap as “0”
    Under the 2021 heading I played the 222 0000 222 1111 using 3 2cracks, 4 soaps and 3 2 bams and 4 1 bams. I was disqualified because I used more than 2 suits. It was my contention that in the date using the white dragon is neutral and not treated like a dragon but a number. I argued that in all the hands under 2021 the same applied otherwise in the FFFF 2222 0000 21 you could only use dots.
    Please clarify
    Joanne m
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Joanne!
    You say you were disqualified - you didn't say by whom. No tournament judge would have ruled this way, so it must have been the other three players at your table.
    They were wrong. Show them the red text at the upper left corner of the card: "WHITE DRAGON IS USED AS ZERO '0'. IT MAY BE USED WITH ANY SUIT. (CRAKS, BAMS OR DOTS)". I see craks and bams in your hand. I do not see any dots, since zeroes are suitless.
    If you need to know more, the rule is explained in detail in FAQ 16 - along with other frequently asked questions about the 2021 card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    November 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    The 2021 card, part 41 (part 33.2)


    We use a table rule, and a question came up

    On Sunday, October 31, 2021, 08:17:18 AM PDT, Eileen G wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    In My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the quint hands the five flower hand. if there r two exposures and the third would give mah jongg we play throwing into a fourth exposure u pay for everyone. Would throwing into the third exposure be the same? This hand there r only three exposures.
    Sent from my iPad

    Good morning, Eileen!
    Since your group is using a table rule, your group has to decide the answer. Nobody else can tell you how your table rule should work. Your rules are your responsibility. What's the purpose of the table rule - what problem does your table rule address? Decide your answer to this morning's question by keeping those questions in mind.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Halloween, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Conflicting claims in Chinese mah-jongg

    On Saturday, October 30, 2021, 03:28:08 PM PDT, Valeria M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I play Chinese Mah-Jongg. If a player says “pung” to retrieve a tile from the discard pile and another person suddenly says “Mah-jonng!” after the fact does who wins the discard or is it Mah-jonng even if the person says it too late? Which is priority?
    Thank you,
    Val
    Colebrook, CT
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Hi, Val!
    It's not a race. The tile doesn't go to he or she or they who speaks first. It's about the reason for the claim, or maybe seat position. If one person says "chow" and another says "pung," the tile goes to the punger (see FAQ 20.H). If one person claims the discard for exposure and another claims it for mah-jongg, the hand is over (see FAQ 20.I). Pung trumps chow, and mah-jongg trumps pung. If two people claim the discard for mah-jongg, the tile doesn't go to the one who spoke first - it goes to the one who's first in line from the discarder (see FAQ 20.J). You might find it useful to bookmark FAQ 20.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 752

    On Saturday, October 30, 2021, 04:58:35 AM PDT, Lynn M wrote:
    Strategy column #752, #1
    Hi, Tom--
    I sometimes use your awesome strategy column as an exercise with my mah jongg students. This week, looking at column #752, question #1, our first choice was Like Numbers #1 with 9s: eight tiles. Yes, the winds jumped out at us, and we wanted to keep them! We'd pass 2B, W, G.
    Thanks as always for your column!
    Lynn M

    Hi, Lynn! Good to see you.
    You are so right, Any Like #1 is clearly the better choice. Passing the tiles I suggested still preserves that option. Gonna have to get lucky on the pair of flowers!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Which quote is correct?

    On Thursday, October 28, 2021, 09:13:42 AM PDT, Star F wrote:
    Re: Erroneaous Call for Exposure
    Thank you for clarification on my ""incorrectly assuming the East position," question. I depend on your FAQ 19, which is so helpful. I also appreciate being able to ask you to clarify certain rules I don't understand.
    This also happened this week, and I'm not sure which one to follow. Can you rack it or not and still change your mind after picking up a discard?
    Thank you so much.
    Star
    Erroneaous Call for Exposure. -- Page 97 of The Red Dragon & the West Wind.
    As long as the player has not yet exposed tiles from her hand, she may retract her verbal call for the current discard. Calling for a discard, picking it up, and even racking it (putting it atop the flat portion of her rack) are all retractable actions, with no penalty. If she exposes tiles from her hand though she commits to making the exposure. She must take the discard and expose tiles from her hand even if doing so results in her going dead.
    Calling a discard / making an exposure.
    FAQ 19 - AM
    A: 2. Calling a discard / making an exposure. You can touch it or move it and change your mind. But once you have either placed the taken discard atop the rack or exposed tiles from your hand, you have committed to making the play (then you have crossed the line, and you may not backtrack - it's too late).

    囧 Good morning, Star.
    That line on page 97 is wrong. It was corrected in the errata. If you don't have the errata, you should download it. Or at least bookmark the RDWW page in your browser.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 28, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She won after calling a discard and redeeming two jokers. Who pays double?

    On Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 11:42:13 PM PDT, Janice V wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: When a person picks up a discarded tile, then takes two tiles and exchanges them for two jokers, now they have Mah-Jong. Wh. Did she make the Mah Jong herself, or did the person who threw the tile give it to her. Thanks, Janice’s,
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Janice! As it says in FAQ 19-AN, if you win by redeeming a joker, you picked it yourself (everybody pays you double) - nobody "gave" you the joker (nobody discarded it - you TOOK it, with a tile you picked yourself).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 28, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She incorrectly assumed the East position (was "She played out of turn")

    On Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 08:22:31 PM PDT, Star F wrote:
    Re: Out of Turn East
    Thank you for your ruling. One more clarification please. .... I looked in all three places you suggested, and they don't say what we should do after declaring the person who played EAST out of turn, dead. Do we declare her dead, and the three remaining players continue where we ended. I am assuming we return her wall, including the 4 tiles she selected, and basically start over with the person who should have been EAST in the first place, playing with the other three people?
    Thank you
    Star

    囧 So sorry, Star! I missed the fact that this error occurred during the Charleston. Because I've not gotten this question before, the answer is not in FAQ 19. And this is not a question of playing out of turn but rather "incorrectly assuming the East position," which is covered by rule 8 on page 19 of the rulebook. In my book, it's rule 90 (a) on page 59. Continue the game with no penalty, and after the hand is completed, the dice go back to the correct East. The next time the dice come to the erring player, her deal is skipped.
    So sorry I misread the question the first time!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 40

    On Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 09:59:31 AM PDT, Mary K wrote:
    winds
    hi tom
    can you clarify hand under winds and dragons?
    11nnn 11sss 1111 can you use even numbers with n and s
    thanks mary k ft pierce florida
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Mary! Remember this mnemonic device: East and Even both begin with the same letter. East = Even. That's how you can remember that East and West are ALWAYS even. The League does not allow even numbers with N and S in that type of hand. See FAQ 16 for answers to the most frequent questions about the NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    Part 5x6


    She played out of turn*

    On Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 09:45:07 AM PDT, Star F wrote:
    Out of Turn East
    We just finished our game and EAST got up to rotate. While we waited for her replacement to join us, a member thought she was the next EAST threw the dice, put her wall out, and took her 4 tiles. As the member next to her took her tiles, I realized I was supposed to be EAST and my wall was supposed to be used, instead of the person who did it out of turn. We're a casual group so we put everything back to where it was, and I took over as EAST, using my wall. I couldn't find a ruling on this situation, and I'm wondering if there is one, and what we should have done.
    Thank you
    Star

    Hi, Star! You can find the ruling in three places: FAQ 19-AA here on my site, and in the official rulebook on p. 21, rule 19 (e), and in my book on p. 63, rule 101 (e).
    Playing out of turn is a death penalty offense.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * This was an erroneous answer. The correct answer may be seen above - see "She incorrectly assumed the East position (was 'She played out of turn')". Sorry for the confusion! - Tom


    If you lay down more than one tile, part 2

    On Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 04:01:20 AM PDT, Carolyn B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I guess I didn’t pose the question correctly. Say a player calls a 4 crack, puts it in her rack along with three other 4 cracks, then decides she doesn’t want to do that. Can she put them back in her hand and return the 4 crack to the discards? American Mahjong.
    Thank you,
    Carolyn B
    "Life is not about getting through the storm, but learning to dance in the rain"
    Sent from my iPad

    Good morning, Carolyn. FAQ 19-AM answers all the "then decides she doesn't want to do that" questions, as I said yesterday. FAQ 19-AM.2: When calling a discard / making an exposure, once you have either placed the taken discard on the rack OR exposed tiles from the sloping front of the rack to the top of the rack, you have committed to making the play (then you have crossed the line, and you may not backtrack - it's too late).
    In general, "actions speak louder than words." It's too late to change your mind once you have taken action.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    If you lay down more than one tile then decide you don’t want to do that

    On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 03:07:39 PM PDT, Carolyn B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If you lay down more than one tile then decide you don’t want to do that, can you pick them up?
    "Life is not about getting through the storm, but learning to dance in the rain"
    Sent from my iPad

    囧 Hi, Carolyn! I'm sorry but I don't know what you mean by "laying down" more than one tile. (You might be talking about discarding, or exposing atop the rack, or even passing in the Charleston.) But not to worry! FAQ 19-AM covers all the "then decide you don't want to do that" questions. You will surely find your answer there. (Assuming you play American/NMJL rules.)
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    If someone discards, part 3

    On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 03:01:55 PM PDT, Ann H wrote:
    Mah Jong question
    This came up in our game today and we’re not sure what the correct answer is:
    Player A discards a redeemable tile (let’s say it’s a 9 Crack) not seeing that Player B has an exposed run with three 9 Cracks and a Joker. Player B only needs one tile for Mah Jong. Can Player B call the discarded (9 Crack) tile from the table, use it to replace the joker in her exposed run and then use the joker for Mah Jong
    Looking forward to your answer.
    A H
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Hi, A! Carmen S asked this exact same question earlier today. Please scroll down and see the answer I gave her.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    If someone discards, part 2

    On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 09:54:08 AM PDT, Carmen S wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you so much. Love the game. Love your help
    Carmen S

    You're welcome, Carmen.


    If someone discards a redeemable tile...

    On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 05:56:11 AM PDT, Carmen S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If a player discards a tile that could have replaced someone’s joker in an exposure, can the person with the exposure call for that discarded tile, keep the joker, and then discard?
    Thank you,
    Carmen S
    Shaker Heights, Ohio

    No. And nobody else can, either. Read FAQ 19-G2.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Taiwanese, part 3

    On Sunday, October 24, 2021, 10:11:57 PM PDT, Barbara M wrote:
    Re: Help with Tiawanese Mahjongg
    I understand. Thanks and have an easy move.
    Barbara

    Cool. I think Amy Lo's book is going to help you. Have fun! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Taiwanese, part 2

    On Sunday, October 24, 2021, 01:36:15 PM PDT, Barbara M wrote:
    Re: Help with Tiawanese Mahjongg
    Thank you so much! Tom, I have a question, me and my friend need to learn all the different patterns for
    Taiwanese. Are you still teaching like you taught me to play American Mahjongg. Of course we would
    pay you. Please let me know. Thanks a Bunch!!
    Barbara

    I'm sorry, Barbara, but I am not teaching now. First, the pandemic, you can see I'm being as careful as I can. Secondly, I'm moving next month and that is an all-consuming endeavor. I recommend you get Amy Lo's book. She has a nice clear way of describing things. THE BOOK OF MAH JONG: AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE, by Amy Lo. Publisher: Tuttle. ISBN: 0804833028. Price: $15.95
    You can always ask for clarifications here on the board. Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 24, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Taiwanese conundrum

    On Sunday, October 24, 2021, 09:02:52 AM PDT, Barbara M wrote:
    Help with Tiawanese Mahjongg
    Hi Tom,
    My friend and I are struggling to learn the patterns in
    Taiwanese Mahjongg. Can you please give me some
    advice? I doubt you remember me, but you taught me and 3
    of my friends American way back in 2010.
    Warm regards,
    Barbara M
    Redondo Beach

    I knew that name sounded familiar, Barbara! Great to hear from you again.
    You didn't say what problem you're having with the Taiwanese patterns, so I don't know if this will be any help.
    Since you are familiar with American mah-jongg, which changes the permissible patterns every year, you might find it helpful to make a Taiwanese "card" that each of you can use at the table while playing (and you wouldn't need to change it ever, much less every year!). You didn't say what site or book you use as your Taiwanese "bible." Each author describes different scoring and different patterns. I made a spreadsheet showing the scoring patterns of three authors: Dragon Chang, Amy Lo, and Steve Willoughby. I also organized them by category (similar to how the American card is organized, and similar to the scoring chart of CMCR in the earliest publications and in my book on p. 248). Organizing the scoring elements (patterns) by type should make it easier to pick and choose in real time while playing.
    You can download the Taiwanese scoring spreadsheet from my "downlode" mah-jongg folder (if you can't open the file because maybe you don't have Microsoft Excel, you can open it with sheets.google.com). You can pick and choose which patterns or point values you want to use in your game and make an American-style card.
    Hope that helps?
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 24, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The etiquette of mahj exposure

    On Saturday, October 23, 2021, 05:09:31 PM PDT, Diane F wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When you declare mah jongg and expose your hand do the tiles need to be in the order shown on the card? Ex: FFFF 2 44 666 8888 as shown on crd or can they be 2 44 8888 666 FFFF. Do they face the player who declares maj or the other players?
    Thank you
    Diane

    Hi, Diane! You asked:

    When you declare mah jongg and expose your hand do the tiles need to be in the order shown on the card?
    Yes. See FAQ 19-Z and see page 14 of the official rulebook.

    Do they face the player who declares maj or the other players?
    Most people orient the tiles to look right-side-up from their own point of view (and to read left-to-right from their own point of view), and I've never heard anybody complain about that. See FAQ 19-BM.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 39*

    On Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 11:08:44 AM PDT, Dale A wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2021 card in the consecutive run section, 5th down combination FF 1111 2222 3333 can it be any consecutive numbers or does it have to be 1 2 3?
    Sent from my iPad

    It can be any three consecutive numbers, Dale. Please bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card (this is also answered on the NMJL's FAQs page), and see FAQ 19 for rules questions.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 20, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Part 3 x 14 (this is the 39th time I've been asked about the 2021 card, and the 14th time I have been asked about Consec #5).


    What do we do with a wall tile seen by accident?

    On Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 10:25:30 AM PDT, Karen Z wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have a question.
    If a player takes a tile by accident out of turn, she sees that tile, does it get put back for the appropriate player to take or does it get buried in the remaining tiles?

    Hi, Karen! You wrote:

    If a player takes a tile by accident out of turn
    She's dead, of course. (FAQ 19-AA)

    does it get put back for the appropriate player to take or does it get buried in the remaining tiles
    You NEVER mess with the order of the tiles in the wall. NEVER!!!* It goes right back where it was. (FAQ 19-BX)

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 20, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Heh. A little carried away there.


    Can I call NEWS for mah-jongg?

    On Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 02:42:32 PM PDT, Mary N wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    If you are playing a NEWS hand and you have 3/4 winds
    Can you call for the 4th wind for Mahjongg?
    Mary N

    Yes, Mary. You can call a tile to complete a NEWS or 2021 if that completes the hand for mah-jongg. See FAQ 19-E.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 19, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 38*

    On Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 12:36:45 PM PDT, Shira G wrote:
    mahj 2021 question
    Hi - in the Consecutive Run category - 5th hand down...
    FF1111 2222 3333 or FF 1111 2222 3333 ( any 1 or 3 suits ) it doesnt say any 3 consecutive numbers - does this mean they just be those exact numbers or was this just an oversight ?
    thanks!
    shira g

    It can be any three consecutive numbers, Shira. Please bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card (this is also answered on the NMJL's FAQs page), and see FAQ 19 for rules questions.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 19, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Part 3 x 13 (this is the 38th time I've been asked about the 2021 card, and the 13th time I have been asked about Consec #5).


    Fishing for an answer

    On Monday, October 18, 2021, 01:10:34 AM PDT, <lisetted wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom, I’m playing in Australia using the Maloney & Thompson rules. At a recent competition the rules included “Fishing will be paid even if all tiles have been exposed”. Does that mean its ok to fish if the other 2 tiles needed for a pung have been discarded & its no longer possible to complete the pung, or does it mean the fishing is paid if a player can declare fishing on the last wall tile?
    Lisette

    囧 I'm sorry, Lisette, but I don't know what the tournament organizer meant by that. You'll have to ask the tournament organizer.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Two Siamese players want the discard for mah-jongg

    On Saturday, October 16, 2021, 12:54:59 PM PDT, Pam V wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: in Siamese Mah Jongg 2 players call for a tile for Mah Jongg. One is closest to the discarder BUT the other caller would be making her second Mah Jongg to end the game. Who gets the tile?

    Hi, Pam! You wrote:

    One is closest to the discarder
    I assume you mean closest counter-clockwise, okay...

    BUT the other caller would be making her second Mah Jongg to end the game.
    Is that supposed to be a factor? I don't see any mention of that at SiameseMahJongg.com. Maybe you should ask Gladys (click the "Contact Us" at the bottom of that website).

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Was wondering if you could help me

    On Friday, October 15, 2021, 12:21:56 AM PDT, kim wrote:
    Mah Jong
    IMG_20211013_161656.jpg
    Sent with ProtonMail Secure Email.
    Hi Tom,
    My name is Kimberley, i stumbled across your website while attempting to value my Mah Jong set and was wondering if you could help me.
    My set contains
    - 120 sticks that are in 2 plastic sealed packages so i am unable to check if they contain the correct amount of scoring numbers.
    - 4 wind indicators (no.1 in your photo)
    - 6 dice that have been taken out of the plastic. No.1 & 4 painted red and the rest black.
    - 136 tiles, the basic tile set is complete
    - 8 flower tiles, all different
    - 8 other tiles total, 4 blanks still in the plastic, and 4 jokers all different
    The tiles are not in plastic, they have been looked at but not played with. They appear to be bamboo as they have a slightly curved base, lines down the sides and dots on the ends. The top appears to be bone, they are a cream colour and have faint lines when a torch is held onto it. They approx measure 26mm x 18mm x 12mm, the bone portion being 2mm thick and is secured using a dove tail.
    - an instruction book that has China National arts & crafts import and export corp., Jiangsu Branch printed on the back. Plus another instruction book, which i don't think came with it, the game of Mah Jong by Max Robertson.
    The case is 32.5cm x 20cm x 5cm and is made from patterned fabric with bone locks, there are no rips, tears or stains. The handle is fabric and metal, the metal is slightly pitted with a small amount of rust. The base is paper and unfortunately has some sticky tape holding it on. The inside of the box has 5 matching pattern fabric trays and lid for the stick tray, and cream fabric on the lid, all have no rips, tears or stains. The bases of the trays are paper, one has the paper unsticking on one edge. The inside of the box is also paper and has some splits in the corner.
    This has been in my cupboard for 15 years and before that was at my grandparents, from my knowledge it has no previous owner.
    IMG_20211013_155643.jpg
    IMG_20211013_161304 (1).jpg
    IMG_20211014_124248.jpg
    IMG_20211015_171645.jpg
    IMG_20211014_121629.jpg
    IMG_20211015_130825.jpg

    Hi, Kimberley!
    Here in California, sets like that sold for US$50-80 in the 1990s. Max Robertson didn't come with the set. Does that help?
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 15, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jong, part 2

    On Friday, October 15, 2021, 11:40:08 AM PDT, Liesl M wrote:
    Re: 20 point Mah Jong
    I was so excited to see your response and answers! I didn’t find my 20 point game anywhere on your site! I know my grandmother lived at Ft. Riley while my grandfather was an officer. Anyway just finished Annelise Heinz book, as lengthy and informative, I still couldn’t find my answers. I started to lean towards the Wright Patterson rules, but no! Still too different! I’m sure you don’t need or want a pen pal, but do you know of others who play this way? We are starting a trend if not! Wish I could get those Dallas gals on board, love them! But this is definitely my grandmother’s Mah Jong! Wish I could make cute sets like them too! They refused to put numbers on the flowers, the Emerald hand won’t work either. I have stupid number stickers on their flowers. But such a fun set and bunch of gals! Wish you had a 20 point Mah Jong video game? I’d play! Thank you again!
    ???
    Sent from Liesl

    Hi, Liesl!
    You wrote:

    do you know of others who play this way?
    I do not. Twenty-Point is an obscure variant. You're welcome to seek players on my Find Players/Teachers/Events bulletin board, but be prepared for precious few takers.

    They refused to put numbers on the flowers
    I imagine they designed their set to be played by players of American (National Mah Jongg League rules) mah-jongg, in which flower numbers have no usefulness.

    the Emerald hand won’t work either.
    I'm familiar with jewel hands from Western variants, but on a quick scan through Foster's book I am not finding this Emerald hand. Is it possible your grandmother's notes borrow aspects of other variants? Anyway, I'm just guessing here - I guess you're saying that the 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 bams in "those Dallas gals'" sets are not all all-green. It's necessary to use a proper/standard Westernized Asian set to play a variant that uses flower numbers and jewel hands. Not a set customized for NMJL play.

    Wish you had a 20 point Mah Jong video game
    If wishes were fishes, we'd all be swimming in riches. :p

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 15, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. I added Twenty Point to FAQ 2b today. - Tom
    P.P.S., Oct. 17 - Liesl, you and your friends can play Twenty Point on Mahjong Friends Online. That site lets you build walls and deal tiles, pick, discard, make exposures... there is no A.I. and this game does not add up score for you. If you have 4 players you can use it to play whatever rules you want. It's your only option for Twenty Point Mah Jongg, as far as I know. - Tom


    When can I change my mind about picking? Where is the line of no return?

    On Thursday, October 14, 2021, 07:15:55 PM PDT, Sunny H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: If someone starts to pull a tile from the wall, briefly touches it, doesn’t remove it from the wall, doesn’t look at it, then removes their hand, are they committed to taking that tile?

    Hi, Sunny!
    Let's see, when does someone cross the line of no return?

    If someone starts to pull a tile from the wall?
    The player is committed to taking the wall tile once the tile has been moved or lifted at all.

    briefly touches it, doesn’t remove it from the wall, doesn’t look at it, then removes their hand
    No problem if the wall tile hasn't been moved. The player is free to call the live discard instead.

    FAQ 19-AM spells out all the "change of heart" situations in American mah-jongg.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 14, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can a discarded tile be picked up for ‘NEWS’?

    On Thursday, October 14, 2021, 07:31:21 AM PDT, Sharon E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:can you draw a tile from the board if you hold NWS and need an E? Or you hold 202 and need a 1?
    Sent from my iPhone
    Sharon E

    It depends, Margaret. Does that completed NEWS or 2021 complete the hand, give you mah-jongg? You can't expose a NEWS or 2021 all by itself. See FAQ 19-E for the rules about groups of singletons like "2021" and "NEWS."
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 14, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jong

    On Wednesday, October 13, 2021, 10:15:09 AM PDT, Liesl M wrote:
    20 point Mah Jong
    Hi Tom,
    thank you for your books which I’ve had some for years, and I’ve enjoyed exploring your site. My great grandmother and grandmother taught me 20 point mah-Jong almost 50 years ago. When I grew older I and my family played with her weekly, And then began subbing in her groups at the club, they were all in their 80s. I keep struggling looking for 20 point Mah Jong through sites and books. I see we are similar to British Mah Jong, although we play with 8 flowers and two jokers and we only Charleston if the hand is a draw. We call that a hotsie. We pay out small amounts of money and do not play with a mixed hand. We also need at least 3 doubles to win. I have taught around 100 people in the last 15 years, they always want to get a book which is not the same. I am now teaching a class at the country club, and using the tattered old sheets that my grandmother left behind, however I have re-written. We are in Kansas City, and every time I buy an old set at an estate sale, I always find these little old pages still in the set. I’d love to know the history of our 20 point mah-jong and hopefully I am not in trouble teaching this way.
    Sent from Liesl

    Hi, Liesl! I found two questions in your email:

    I’d love to know the history of our 20 point mah-jong
    It originated with R.F. Foster in 1924, as the mah-jongg craze was dying. Foster wanted to solve two problems with Chinese Classical (the form everybody was growing discontented with in 1924):
    ● Beginners making quick easy cheap wins while experienced players were trying to form high-scoring hands;
    ● "The constant pulling down and rebuilding of the walls, on account of the shortness of the games."
    Foster wrote his book in 1924, and he also included Twenty Point in later editions of his Complete Hoyle.

    The books ought to be available somewhere (used, of course).

    hopefully I am not in trouble teaching this way.
    I don't think you need to worry. If people are having a good time, that's all that's important.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 13, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can you use blank tiles or extra flowers?

    On Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 06:42:35 PM PDT, Dotty B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can you use blank tiles or extra flowers in a game of mahjong?

    It depends, Dotty! What do you have in mind? And which mah-jongg rules do you play?
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me win?

    On Monday, October 11, 2021, 01:24:11 PM PDT, Terence W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:I am a beginner Mah Jong player and had the Lucky 13 when playing on the computer- but the computer would not recognize it as Mah Jongg— ffff 5555(dots)+8888(crack)- so confused
    thank you!!!

    Hi, Terence,
    I don't know which computer game you were playing on. I don't know what card you were using. But mainly, I do not provide customer support for any computer games.
    Most of the time, a computer game won't let you win because you're trying to do something against the rules, or you misunderstand the color coding on the card (see FAQ 19-CV). Or maybe the computer was not using the same card you were? I assume you also had a 1-bam and a 3-bam to make a complete 14-tile math formula, but maybe there's no Lucky 13 hand on the card the computer was using.
    If you need tech support for your computer game, see FAQ 24. I recommend you make a habit of taking a screenshot every time something happens that confuses you. Good luck!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Indigenous People's/Columbus Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 37*

    On Monday, October 11, 2021, 09:16:44 AM PDT, Judith T wrote:
    2021 Mah Jongg card hand clarification
    Consecutive run, 5th line on card says Any 1 or 3 suits. It does not say any number. Are the only tiles you can collect for Mah Jongg only 1,2 and 3’s? I know in the past there has been clarifications based on space available on a line. Please advise. JudithT

    It can be any three consecutive numbers, Judith. Please bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card, and FAQ 19 for rules questions.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Indigenous People's/Columbus Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Part 3x12


    Is my hand jokerless if there was a joker in it but somebody took it?

    On Monday, October 11, 2021, 01:56:21 AM PDT, Larry S wrote:
    American Mahjong Scoring Question
    For purposes of the rules on scoring “jokerless” hands, what precisely does that mean?
    For instance, I expose a pung of 2 nautal tiles and a joker. The joker is later redeemed by another player.
    Ultimately, I win the game. Since I have no jokers in my winning hand, is it considered jokerless? Or does the fact that I used at least 1 joker at some point during the game disqualify me from treating this as a jokerless hand?
    Thanks!
    Larry S

    Hi, Larry. The hand earns the jokerless bonus if there are no jokers in it at the time of mahj declaration. One of the strategic implications of redeeming a joker is that you can make the other player jokerless, costing you in the end.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Indigenous Peoples/Columbus Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Does she have to voice aloud?

    On Sunday, October 10, 2021, 09:53:16 AM PDT, Patricia C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Q. When player calls ‘wait’ and spends a few minutes looking at her tiles, then just quietly takes said tile and racks it — does she have to voice aloud that she is taking tile? Reason being that player takes so long that I say look at my tiles and don’t even see her take and rack tile.
    Is there a Rule for that?
    Or is it just common courtesy?
    Table rule??
    Appreciate your help.

    Hi, Patricia,
    It's a rule. Page 14: "To claim a discard the player must verbalize their call..."
    "Common courtesy" is what you all do when she says "wait," and then you wait. There is no rule saying that anyone can just say "wait."
    And "common courtesy" is definitely NOT what she's exhibiting when she takes "minutes" with an S! Making people wait one whole minute (sixty whole seconds!) is uncourteous, much less making people wait multiple minutes. ...Assuming you're not exaggerating.
    Good luck getting that player to play a bit more considerately of others.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    10/10/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Misnamed discard

    On Thursday, October 7, 2021, 03:36:20 PM PDT, Jan T wrote:
    tile named incorrectly when discarded
    A player discarded a tile and called it a 5 crack. Another player called for the 5 crack and exposed (2) 5 cracks, which was correct. When looking for the 5 crack on the table, it was discovered that the discarder put down a 5 Dot instead. She didn't re-name the tile until it was brought to her attention. How should the game proceed from there, and is there a penalty for either player?
    Thanks, J.T.

    I confess, J.T. I'm guilty of schadenfreude here. I can't feel sorry for a player who makes a move before putting eyes on the tile. The best players use not only their ears but also their eyes before making irrevocable moves. See FAQ 19-AY, Q3.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Incorrect tile exposed for Mahjongg

    On Thursday, October 7, 2021, 10:22:31 AM PDT, Jan T wrote:
    Incorrect tile exposed for Mahjongg
    A tile was discarded and picked up by another player for Mahjongg. She exposed the hand, but one of the tiles was incorrect. This was pointed out to her, and she said, "Oh, I meant to pick up the 3crack instead of the 6 crack." The other players felt that this was Mahjongg in Error. She said, "Well, I have trouble seeing, so I meant to pick up the other tile." We decided that her hand was dead. Was this the correct decision?
    Thank you. J.T.

    Yes. She picked up a dead tile from the discard floor and put it atop her rack. She's dead. Game continues from the next player in line.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can she have backsies? She wants a do-over. When is it too late to take back a move?

    On Thursday, October 7, 2021, 04:58:10 AM PDT, Louise D wrote:
    mj question
    Hi Tom,
    A player called a 4 dot for an exposure. She picked it up and also picked up the ones in her hand for the exposure. She didn't put any of those tiles on her rack and then she changed her mind and really didn't want to make the exposure. I told her she had to take it because she picked up the discard from the table. Is that true?
    Thanks,
    Lou

    Hi, Louise!
    All the scenarios in which people ask for a do-over, and where "the line" is drawn in each case, are explained fully in FAQ 19-AM.
    1. Where is the line when picking from the wall?
    2. Where is the line when calling a discard? <-- (Your question today)
    3. Where is the line when discarding a tile?
    4. Where is the line when redeeming a joker?
    5. Where is the line when declaring mah-jongg?
    Please take a look at FAQ 19-AM.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can a discarded tile be picked up for ‘2021’?

    On Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 02:34:32 PM PDT, Margaret G wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can discarded tile be picked up for ‘2021’?

    It depends, Margaret. Does that completed 2021 complete the hand, give you mah-jongg? You can't expose a 2021 all by itself. See FAQ 19-E for the rules about groups of singletons like "2021" and "NEWS."
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 5, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What is this "blind pass" thing?

    On Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 08:02:05 AM PDT, Pete K wrote:
    Blind Pass
    What is a blind pass? is it used in American Mah Jongg? Thanks!

    Yes, it is, Pete. I have to wonder, where did you hear about the blind pass and why do you ask if it's used in American mah-jongg?
    See FAQ 19-AG for a description of when the blind pass is used in the American Charleston. On the third pass (first left pass of the first Charleston and last right pass of the second Charleston) you might find that you don't have three tiles to give a neighbor. When that happens, you can give your neighbor some or all of the tiles passed to you by your other neighbor, without looking at them (which is why it's called "blind").
    I urge all players of American mah-jongg to have and read Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the NMJL.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 5, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Sloperama support

    On Monday, October 4, 2021, 05:05:40 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment from Evelyn Henderson for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    PayPal

    My gratitude, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Which flowers should I sticker, part 2

    On Saturday, October 2, 2021, 09:37:56 AM PDT, Dina D wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you
    Dina D

    You're welcome, Dina!
    Tom


    Which flowers should I sticker as jokers, to be true to the original?

    On Friday, October 1, 2021, 07:32:30 PM PDT, Dina D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I recently purchased attached set. It came with an abundance of flowers. I want to try to stay true to original set. Which flowers go with set and which ones can I use as jokers? Any insight on set? Age, brand, etc?
    Dina D


    (Color enhanced for readability)

    Hi, Dina! Fun question.
    Your set is from the pre-joker days. Your set has 26 flowers, and the League never required more than 24 flowers (1950-1955, see column 509). I think the manufacturer wanted to cover all contingencies. It's also possible it came with even more originally. I don't know how to determine what's "true" to the original set.
    I'm glad you numbered the columns, and organized the tiles. There are three of your #1 tile and four of your #2 tile (your #10 tile is actually a #2). There are three each of your #s 3 and 4 tiles. There are two different tiles in your #5 column (the bottom tile does not match the two above it). You have four #6 tiles. Your four #7s are upside-down. You have one #8 and one #9.
    Which eight tiles you shall use as your flowers, and which eight you shall sticker, is completely up to you - nobody can ever tell you you did it "wrong," no matter how you go.
    If it was my set, I would want one of each different tile for my flowers. But you have ten different designs (the third #5 replaces your #10 that's actually a #2). So you can just pick which eight you like better for your flowers. Then pick any eight of the leftovers to sticker.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mah-Jongg software, part 3

    On Friday, October 1, 2021, 12:38:14 PM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Pauline E
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $5.00 USD from Pauline E
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $5.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Pauline E
    Message: Thanks for still being the go-to resource for all things Mah Jongg for decades!!

    Thank you, Polly!
    Tom


    Mah-Jongg software, part 2

    On Friday, October 1, 2021, 12:15:40 PM PDT, Polly E wrote:
    Re: Would you like an old NMJL card?
    Oh My Gosh!!! Thank you for letting me know that Shanghai Second Dynasty works on Windows 10! I had no idea!! I put my disk in and it works perfectly - this is the original green disk, BTW. I'm so excited! I'm getting the music too, but it doesn't loop, it just plays the song once through and then stops.
    So question for you - which computer game had the four pictures of humans as your A.I. opponents? I thought it was this one, and I was looking forward to playing the old Auntie again who had really top skills. They didn't say much, just had a few words of vocabulary, but they were fun. Do you remember it?
    Thank you so much for this tip - I'm so happy to be playing it again, and to have Earthlink on my computer once again! (NOT!)

    Good, I'm glad the game works on your machine now. That music behavior is what I get. Hong Kong Mahjong Pro had the four characters you mention. I had some conversations with the game's developer some years back; he has definitely moved on and you should not expect to see it updated for today's systems. Earthlink, heh. The nineties. Early days of the Web as a public phenomenon.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    October 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mah-Jongg software

    On Thursday, September 30, 2021, 02:03:44 PM PDT, Polly E wrote:
    Re: Would you like an old NMJL card?
    Hi Tom,
    I wrote you a zillion years ago, but now have a follow-up...
    I was online looking for a way to play my copy of Shanghai Second Dynasty, and came across Hong Kong Mahjong Pro in a playable format (if you have the book to refer to unlock it which I don't). It's on Internet Archive, as well as some other (more suspect looking) places. Here's the link: https://archive.org/details/msdos_Hong_Kong_Mahjong_Pro_1992 - I didn't see it on your site so thought I'd share. I assume you could also find the book for it, if you looked long enough.
    I still have my disk and book for SSD and have held onto it hoping to play it again. Now, thanks to your site, I see there are all sorts of options for playing online. I've been playing NMJL on RealMahjongg, but great to know about the other sites and variations. Yay!
    Cheers,
    Polly

    Thanks, Polly. I used to have Hong Kong Mahjong Pro listed in FAQ 5, but then the developer retired and stopped keeping up the website (that's why it's on Internet Archive now). I figure there are enough current choices on the live web without having to link to old no-longer-supported stuff on the Archive. So I removed it from FAQ 5.
    Speaking of no-longer-supported, Shanghai Second Dynasty works on my Windows 10 system today. Microsoft tweaked something in an update, and now the old game works again. My disc won't play game music properly, but it's not the original green disc, it's the re-released Xplosiv version.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How to use sticks?

    On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 09:49:14 AM PDT, Earl D wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Just saw on your website the very thorough description on how to use sticks, chips, etc. So Please disregard my previous email. As I actually have 2 Pung Chow sets from the ‘20s, I’m sure I have enough sticks to get everyone set up to use one of the systems you have listed.
    I apologize for not going through your site more thoroughly.
    Earl D

    No apology necessary, Earl. Glad you found the info you needed.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 29, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How to use sticks?

    On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 08:56:18 AM PDT, Earl D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Cc: earl
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    My family & friends have been seriously playing Mah Jongg since 1985, starting with my Grandmothers “Pung Chow” set from the 1920’s. We have always used the Pung Chow Co.’s scoresheet with its doubles, etc.
    While that works OK, I have always wondered about how to keep score with the scoring sticks. I have googled and read several sites that talk about the sticks, but I cannot find anywhere what the stick values are supposed to be, i.e.; How many points each are the 1 dot sticks, the 6 dot sticks, 8 Dot sticks and the decorative 9 Dot sticks, etc.
    While I suspect the actual answer is; “What would you like them to be?” there are probably some established scoring systems that incorporate the Scoring Sticks. Can you point me to a site that has established values for the play (e.g. X,000 points for going “Mah Jongg”, Y,000 points for each Honors Pung; Z,000 pts for each terminals Kong, etc.), and pts for each 5 dot stick, for each 8 dot stick, for each 9 dot stick, etc.
    Having read a comprehensive article about using the sticks for keeping score, instead of the Bibb system of doubling etc. I would like to try a system using the scoring sticks.
    Thank You in advance:
    Earl D

    Hi, Earl!
    You'll find the info in FAQ 7-D. Sounds to me like you play Chinese Classical scoring.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 29, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Does a dead player still make a discard?

    On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 04:26:24 AM PDT, Louise D wrote:
    MJ QUESTION
    When calling a player dead, does that player still make a discard?

    No.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 29, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is it too late to take it back?

    On Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 07:52:33 AM PDT, Joyce M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When discarding a tile the player said the tile’s name but did not place it down. She realized after saying the name that it could be exchanged for a joker on another player’s rack. Can she still get the joker after saying the tile’s name but not putting it down on the board?

    Hi, Joyce. Once she said the tile's name OR touched it to the table (whichever came first), the tile is "down" and cannot be taken back. See FAQ 19-AM for all the "backsies" rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I claim a discard with just jokers, part 2

    On Monday, September 27, 2021, 03:14:41 PM PDT, judi c wrote:
    (No Subject)
    If a player calls for a tile, can they rack and expose that tile with only jokers?

    Yes, they can.
    See FAQ 19-L. Source: 2020 edition of the official rulebook, p.23 rule 12 (in the 2013 edition, p.20 rule 10). You do not have to have a matching natural symbol (non-joker) tile to expose a set.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    9/27/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How do we get the rule changed, part 3
    On Sunday, September 26, 2021, 11:03:36 AM PDT, <lindaz wrote:
    (No Subject)
    Your response to Cynthia (Sept 19) about waiting 3 seconds between moves is a very good one. I'm going to suggest it to my group as a table rule. We have experienced players and new players. The difference in speed of play can be frustrating to people of different abilities. Thank you!
    Linda

    I'm glad you like the idea, Linda. But to clarify: there is no WAITING 3 seconds. Just play. If somebody says "hold on, I want that last discard," just see if the group agrees that the call was within 3 seconds or not. If it was, she gets the tile. If it wasn't, she doesn't.
    OR, as I said to Cynthia, your group can just agree that "slam-exposing" is not an acceptable tactic. Make it a rule that a claim for a tile MUST be spoken BEFORE taking action on the claim, with a reasonable chance of another player speaking a claim before taking action on the claim.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sept. 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, CA, USA


    The 2021 card

    On Thursday, September 23, 2021, 03:19:53 PM PDT, Rowena H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    On line 2 of Winds and Dragons section can the number tiles with the N and S be only even-numbered tiles and the number tiles with the E and W only be odd numbered tiles?
    Thnanks.

    No, just the opposite, Rowena. Just remember "East=Even." E and W are always even numbers only. N and S, odd numbers only.
    You can visit FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card, and FAQ 19 for NMJL rules questions.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Sept. 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, CA, USA

    * Part 36 (part 5x6)


    Is this really a rule?

    On Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 05:11:41 PM PDT, rosemary b wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is it a rule that East can stop the first Charleston if she has MahJongg before the first pass?
    Thank you for your help.

    Yes, Rosemary. See these:
    - The official rulebook (2021 ed.), p. 14
    - FAQ 19-BJ
    - Column 666
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Autumnal Equinox, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I claim a discard with just jokers?

    On Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 04:55:40 AM PDT, Heinz V wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If a tile is discarded that I want but do not have one of that tile on my board, can I claim it and lay it out with 2 jokers?

    Yes, you can.
    See FAQ 19-L. Source: 2020 edition of the official rulebook, p.23 rule 12 (in the 2013 edition, p.20 rule 10). You do not have to have a matching natural symbol (non-joker) tile to expose a set.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Autumnal Equinox, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Everybody went dead except one.

    On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 09:37:17 AM PDT, Elizabeth M wrote:
    Dead players
    Hi Tom, We we’re playing a game of 3. One player went dead with not enough tiles and soon after another player went dead with too many tiles. The third player wanted to keep playing by herself to the win. I thought at that point the game was over. Is that correct? Also do the two dead players have to pay the last player anything?
    Thank you, Betsy

    Hi, Betsy!
    There is never any kind of circumstance that permits one sole surviving player to play all by herself. That would be simply silly!
    I assume you were playing American rules (National Mah Jongg League). Under those rules, a dead player might have to pay a sole survivor something, as spelled out in FAQ 19-BW, depending on how it happens that everybody's dead except one. In this case, the two players goofed on how many tiles they were holding. So the game is voided. Next dealer deals. Rule 10(c) on page 19 of the official rulebook.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 21, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 750

    On Sunday, September 19, 2021, 11:27:26 AM PDT, Heidi P wrote:
    Question of 4 July column
    Hi Tom,
    I'm a relatively new player, so this may be an obvious "what the heck is she thinking (and not seeing)?" question. But, here goes:
    In 4 July column, #5:
    Your recommendation is:
    5. Twos and norths are not friendly with one another, and N has insufficient friends; forget N. What's friends with the twos? Answer: F 4D 6D (Evens #4), and 1B G (Consec. #3). You don't want to pass a wind pair, but you can pass 1C N W.
    My question:
    Why would you not suggest going for QUINTS #1? You have a F, pair 2B, 2 N, plus 2 Jokers.
    Thanks, and love your column - really learn so much from your tips.
    Heidi

    What the heck was I thinking (and not seeing), Heidi? (^_^)
    I was wrong when I said twos and norths aren't friendly -- there is indeed Quints #1. I'd been thinking generally, without scanning the card fully. I'd noted 2021 #4, where I didn't have a soap or enough winds, and W-D #6, which... Well, let's just count up the possibilities.
    - 2021 #4: 6 tiles, plus 2J. No Easts, no soaps.
    - Quints #1: 5 tiles, plus 2J.
    - W-D #6: 6 tiles, plus 2J. No Souths or soaps.
    When I have two or more jokers, I steer away from hands that need pairs (especially if I have no tiles towards one or more pairs). So 2021 #4 is out. I don't feel all that confident in the Quints hand, either - only two jokers, only two each of the number and the wind, and only one flower, where five are required. I'd rather go for a hand that can use my existing number pair, because the suit hands offer a lot more possibilities and probabilities than the corner-of-the-card families. And of the suit hands, the most possibilities can be found in Consecutive Runs - but in this case we mainly have evens. I still feel more comfortable in the horizontal middle of the card, for these tiles.


    Focus on numbers, with two jokers, and 5 tiles towards Quints

    When I want to focus on the numbers - the three suits and not just ones, twos, zeros - I prefer the flexibility in the section of the card I highlighted in green. This is just the first pass of the Charleston; the tiles that come in may change it all again.
    In July, I wrote that I would keep the numbers and Green, and pass 1C and break up winds. But I hadn't done this counting exercise that time. I'm not crazy about the Quints option, but your idea to keep the Norths is sound. I do have an idea for Green (Consec #3), and F could well be crucial to any green-section hand (such as 2468 #4), so I'm keeping those. I was reserving 1B for the 2021 option but now that I think about it, I crossed that hand off before. So 1B 1C W is a pass that focuses more on numbers but reserves Quints.
    Thank you for your astute question, Heidi! Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 19, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How do we get the rule changed, part 2

    On Sunday, September 19, 2021, 09:45:17 AM PDT, cynana8 wrote:
    Re: question
    Thank you for answering!

    You're welcome!


    How do we get the rule changed back to the way it was?

    On Sunday, September 19, 2021, 04:28:59 AM PDT, cynana8 wrote:
    question
    how can we get rules #3 and #4 in the 2020 and 2021 mahjongg changes back to the original rule of next in line gets a call for a tile. this new change has made the game a race to put up tiles. it is not a nice way to play, it can cause fights as to who put up tile first. please let me know how this can be changed back to what it has been for all the years that i have played since the 70's
    Cynthia G

    Hi, Cynthia,
    You're preaching to the choir! I agree with you that some players interpret the rule to mean that it is (as you say) "a race to put up tiles." But those players were playing aggressively even before that rule change happened. I think the League instituted that rule change to solve a problem - players who suddenly want a discard after they see that another player wants it and has started acting on that desire. Such "Johnny come latelies" also caused hard feelings, when they forced the claimant to put tiles back.
    Personally, I like the international tournament rule (Majiang Competition Rules, or "Official Chinese") - after a discard goes down, any player who wants it has to speak within 3 seconds. The 3-second rule definitely does away with aggressive "it's a race" tactics.
    You asked how to change the rule. Only the League can change it officially. But you can act locally. Talk to your group. Maybe the group will accept the 3-second rule as a table rule. Or maybe the group will accept that aggressive tactics like "slam-exposing" are bad, and should not be rewarded.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 19, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Question about... Never mind!

    On Saturday, September 18, 2021, 10:14:03 AM PDT, maureen s wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can I double my mah-jongg winnings on singles and pairs since no jokers are used?


    On Saturday, September 18, 2021, 10:20:01 AM PDT, maureen s wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Never mind! It's on the back of the card. Sorry about that.


    How old is it?

    On Thursday, September 16, 2021, 06:59:21 AM PDT, Raene D wrote:
    Chinese Mah-Jongg Tiles & Dice
    Tom,
    I recently purchased this Chinese Mah-Jongg Tile complete set with dice. No box or other accessories included. Trying to ascertain the age of the set. Thank you very much.
    With kindest regards,
    Raene D ("rainy")

    It's from the 1920s, Raene. 98 years old, give or take. See FAQ 7g. By the way, those sticks at the bottom of the photo are Japanese, of more recent origin (they don't belong with those tiles), and there aren't enough of them to be useful in any way - you can toss the sticks in the trash with a clear conscience.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When do dragons become suits?

    On Wednesday, September 15, 2021, 10:53:51 AM PDT, Jane S wrote:
    Cards 2020 and 2021
    Hi Tom - I teach Mahjongg in a retirement facility and I would like for you to clarify a couple hands. I use the 2020 card with beginners and 2021 with those who have learned to play.
    2020 Card - under 2468 - 2nd hand - Am I correct that the dragons become a suit and have to be white dragons? Also, 2021 card - under 369 -3rd from bottom.
    Under Quints 1st hand - “Says any dragon” The dragon would have to match the suit to the number played, correct?
    2021 Card - under 2468 - 2nd from bottom - Do the dragons become a suit in this hand Am I right that only dots can be played?
    Is there anywhere in Mahjongg Made Easy that explains that dragons become suits in certain hands and how they should be played?
    Always appreciate your help. Jane S

    Hi, Jane! You asked multiple questions, so I need to go "call and response" Q&A here. You wrote:

    2020 Card - under 2468 - 2nd hand - Am I correct that the dragons become a suit and have to be white dragons?

    22 44 666 888 DDDD (Any 3 Suits)
    (2468 #2, 2020)

    You seem to believe that the twos and fours have to be bams? And the sixes and eights have to be craks? If that's what you're assuming, that's wrong. See the parenthetical - it says "Any 3 Suits," which means you can use any suit for the pairs of twos and fours - not only bams. And you can use any suit not used for the pairs or the dragon for the pungs of sixes and eights. See FAQ 16-2020. This principle also applies to 369 #5 on the 2021 card.

    Under Quints 1st hand - “Says any dragon” The dragon would have to match the suit to the number played, correct?

    FFFFF DDDD 11111 (Any No. in Any Suit, Any Dragon)
    (Quints #1, 2020)

    If it was supposed to match the number quint, the parenthetical would not say "any dragon," and the Ds and 1s would be the same color (the hand would be just one color, blue). Again, see FAQ 16-2020, where this hand (and your question) are addressed.

    2021 Card - under 2468 - 2nd from bottom - Do the dragons become a suit in this hand Am I right that only dots can be played?

    FF DDDD 2 4 6 8 DDDD (Any 3 Suits)
    (2468 #7, 2021)

    The parenthetical says "Any 3 Suits," which means your 2468 can be any suit, and the dragons have to be from the other two suits. If you have any more questions about the 2021 card, they're probably answered in FAQ 16-2021. From the 2021 FAQ, you can link to the 2020 FAQ at the bottom (where you can access past card FAQs going back to 2001).

    Is there anywhere in Mahjongg Made Easy that explains that dragons become suits in certain hands and how they should be played?
    No. It's on the card itself. Read every word on the card, front and back. But basically: when you see "0" on the card, that means white dragon. When you see "R" or "G" on the card, that means red or green dragon. When you see "D" on the card, that could be any dragon, depending on the number of colors in the hand (not counting winds or flowers, which are always shown in blue).

    Jane, I think you and your students would benefit from you taking the AMJIA's teaching course. They're not endorsed by or affiliated with the NMJL, but they're the only course I know of for mah-jongg teachers, and their course will make sure that you are clear on the NMJL rules and how the NMJL card works.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 15, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    One of her hands went dead for too few tiles, and then the other one had too many tiles.

    On Thursday, September 9, 2021, 07:19:08 PM PDT, rosemary B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    This happened In double Siamese (4 players, 2 Mah-jongg sets):
    A player called mah-jongg, but didn’t realize she needed 4 flowers. She put up 2 flowers, which left her with a “Mah-jongg” of only 12 tiles. We immediately called her dead. Ordinarily, if you’re dead on 1 hand, you can still play the other. However, in this case she had too many tiles remaining to ever make a Mah-jongg. She decided to just add 2 random tiles from her rack to the 12 exposed tiles and continue playing. We were okay with that and finished the game, but we’d like to know what the rule is in a case like that.
    I appreciate your help.
    Rosemary
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Rosemary! I'm no expert on Siamese Mah-Jongg, but I see on their rules page that a hand with too few tiles or too many tiles is dead. She had two dead hands and should not have continued playing. See rule 18 at siamesemahjongg.com. And beneath that, under Royale Siamese Variations, see rule 5 - the rest of you keep on playing without her (until the hand ends).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    9/9/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Where did the 2nd-left pass pyramid come from, part 2

    On Thursday, September 9, 2021, 01:36:05 PM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Re: Hello
    Thanks! That's what I thought but wanted a second opinion!
    KIND Regards,
    Debbie B


    Where did the 2nd-left pass pyramid come from?

    On Thursday, September 9, 2021, 12:58:16 PM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Hello
    Hi there Tom.. I hope this email finds you well. Do you have any idea where the second left stacking came from or when it began?
    Thanks!
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    Hi, Debbie!
    No, I don't. It's an undocumented formality, which probably endures because it's so helpful in keeping one's step during the convoluted dance. No idea who came up with the idea.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    9/9/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Neat discards make it difficult to see what is out there.

    On Thursday, September 9, 2021, 06:13:15 AM PDT, kenneth L wrote:
    Mahjong etiquette
    Tom
    A member of our Mahjong group has recently started to discard tiles by placing them neatly in front of her rack. I feel tiles should be discarded so that everyone can easily see what tiles have been discarded. Yesterday a 2nd person decided to do the same. I decided to question this. Who is right? If they are neatly lined up in front of their rack it becomes difficult to see what is out there.
    Terry L-

    Hi, Terry!
    This is not a question of etiquette, but of strategy.

    You say that orderly discards are difficult to read. I disagree. Orderly discards give other players a detailed record of what a player has discarded, allowing other players to have information they can use against that player. And to me, any face-up tile is just as easy to see as any other face-up tile on the table. A good player keeps an eye on the entire table.
    The traditional American practice is haphazard discard placement. Hong Kong players, and most players of Asian variants, also use haphazard discard placement. Around the turn of the millennium, the new official Chinese Majiang Competition Rules adopted the Japanese practice of orderly discards in front of each player - as a politeness! Orderly discards are now the norm in international tournaments.


    Haphazard/random discards (most variants)

    Orderly discards (Japanese, MCR)

    Orderly discards (many computer games)

    But what really shook things up is computer games. It's the norm in many computer games to place discards one by one in orderly rows, in contradiction to the norm on most tables of placing discards haphazardly. Your player is either new to mah-jongg, or she plays on the computer.

    Instead of making yourself upset about this new practice you're seeing, why not use it to your own advantage? Those two players at your table are making it much easier for you to see what they're discarding, which gives you clues as to what they're keeping (and thus what hands they may be making).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    9/9/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card

    On Wednesday, September 8, 2021, 04:56:54 PM PDT, Joan H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: under consecutive runs 5th game down, can you use any group of numbers say 234 instead of 123. Or just 123 thanks

    Hi, Joan!
    It can be any three numbers. If you ever come across any more questions about the 2021 card, you'll find the answers in FAQ 16.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Part 35 (part 3x11)


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

    On Tuesday, September 7, 2021, 05:21:43 PM PDT, dody v wrote:
    Dead hand
    When a player call mahjon in error I understand that is a dead hand if this hand has several jokers can the rest of the players claim then we have one player that question this often than u for your help

    It depends on the timing of the joker exposures, dody. Did all her jokers go atop the rack at the time she declared mahj? Or were some exposed earlier? See FAQ 19-P.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    No idea what this set may be worth

    On Monday, September 6, 2021, 07:10:41 AM PDT, Deb D wrote:
    Old mahjong set
    Hi Tom!
    My grandma passed away and as I was going through the attic I found this game. The container is very old with my grandpas initials engraved on the container. My grandpa if alive would be around 108 years old. This set contains 156 tiles. The tiles are also engraved with the designs in the material used. I have no idea what this set may be worth and no idea who to ask what it may be worth besides you. I have included pictures. The corners are not sharp and are a dark orangish yellow with a brown backing. If you could help me out as far as what these are made of and price it is worth I would greatly appreciate it!
    I will have to send each picture in an email because it is not allowing me to upload the pictures for some reason.
    Thank you for your time!
    Debra D

    Hi, Debra! You wrote:

    no idea what this set may be worth
    I can't tell you, with the limited information you've given me. See FAQ 7h and give me the requested information. When you describe the condition of the case, for example, tell me if it's "Good," or "Fair," or "Poor," and tell me why it's that condition. I also need to know how many chips there are of each color - how many pink, how many yellow, how many red, etc.

    This set contains 156 tiles.
    I need a breakdown, as laid out in FAQ 7h. If the basic 136 tiles are all there, then how many flowers and jokers and extra blank tiles are there? I can't help you if I don't have the information.

    what these are made of
    Your tiles are made of Catalin or Bakelite (maybe both - catalin fronts and bakelite backs); see FAQ 7c.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 6, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Sloperama supportarama

    On Saturday, September 4, 2021, 03:25:40 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
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    Thank you again, Evelyn, for your ongoing support.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She was dead, wasn't she?

    On Friday, September 3, 2021, 01:54:50 PM PDT, Hedy G wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    East threw her tile, the next player thought she was east and threw. I picked and racked. Before I threw I realized something was wrong. At that point I called the player who threw without picking dead. Two of the other players felt I should have put my tile back and give her a do over. I said she’s dead. Unfortunately I play with women who don’t like rules, ie, picking ahead and if they want the tile that was just thrown they feel that putting back the tile they just moved towards their rack and change their mind is ok. I’ve tried to stop that action but no one cares but me. As to the original question was she dead even though it was the beginning of the game?
    Thank you
    Hedy G

    Hedy, you know the rules and I know the rules, but it doesn't matter, since your group doesn't care about the rules. Even though that player was dead, the group believes in second, third, and fourth chances.
    [EDIT: removed a paragraph, irrelevant to the situation based on my misreading of a portion of the email.]
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can someone make a pung of jokers?

    On Thursday, September 2, 2021, 01:14:06 PM PDT, Martha L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can someone use three jokers in place of three of something else to make three of a kind?

    Hi, Martha!
    Sure, why not? Because a discarded joker is a dead joker, you'll never see a joker pung sitting by itself atop someone's rack. But you can see a joker pung or kong or quint when someone exposes the hand for mah-jongg.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    September 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Another player just grabbed for the joker on my rack!

    On Monday, August 30, 2021, 03:39:40 PM PDT, vogue13 wrote:
    joker
    I had an exposed joker and a player REACHED over the table to extract my joker for an exchange. I was always taught that you ASK the player for the joker and then an exchange takes place. When I was learning the game, my teacher actually SLAPPED my hand when I did this myself…..but here I was 3 years later with someone with their hand taking my exposed joker. Yikes! I simply told them that was NOT done and you ASK first! Was I correct?
    Lorna
    Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS

    Hi, Lorna!
    That player obviously wasn't taught etiquette by your teacher. You do understand the difference between etiquette and rules, right? If you're at a dinner party and you see someone use their soup spoon on their dessert, do you tell them they're doing it wrong? If you see someone wearing white after Labor Day, do you yell at them? I suppose that's fashion, not etiquette, but you see the point. Etiquette is tricky - it can be bad etiquette to tell someone their etiquette is bad. The trick is to do it kindly (without slapping a hand, which I don't do to my students).


    The current edition of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the NMJL, says this about the joker exchange:

      "It is recommended that a player never touch another player's tiles. The player should first announce that a Joker exchange is to be made. The replacement tile should be handed to the player whose rack contains the Joker and that player makes the exchange and hands the Joker to the other player."

    It's a recommendation, not a rule. You could buy a copy for your friend so they can read the recommendation for themself*.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    *(Yes, "themself" - the politically correct non-gender-specific singular third-person pronoun these days is "they/them/their" and although my autocorrect wants to change "themself" to "themselves," we're talking about one person here.) (I don't know, I'm still trying to figure this out.)


    What's the average value, part 2

    On Monday, August 30, 2021, 03:30:01 AM PDT, gdb wrote:
    Age and Value?
    Hello Tom,
    Following up on a mail I had sent you in past, in your opinion what is the age of this set and what would be its value?
    Do you have any recommended websites or go-to places where I could look for similar sets?
    Best,
    John

    Hello, John. You asked:

    what is the age of this set
    Approximately 98 years old. It was made in mah-jongg's heyday, the early 1920s.

    and Value?
    Photos are not enough to come up with a valuation estimate. On the 26th, I asked for "photos and condition information and parts list". If you need to know the names of the parts, see Those Extra Bits and Pieces (FAQ 7-D). An explanation of condition terms is in FAQ 7-H.

    Do you have any recommended websites or go-to places where I could look for similar sets?
    Sure. See the Other Excellent Mah-Jongg Sites links at the bottom of FAQ 4-A.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    On Saturday, August 28, 2021, 02:38:52 PM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Norton S
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
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    You can view the transaction details online.
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    Thank you very much, Norton!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 29, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How to handle these errors, part 2

    On Saturday, August 28, 2021, 04:04:16 AM PDT, james wrote:
    Thanks for the response.
    Tom,
    The player I ask about who called and drew at the same time was the next in line.
    What should have happened, rule wise, if she was not the next in line?
    Thanks
    Jim M

    Hi, Jim. You wrote:

    The player I ask about who called and drew at the same time was the next in line.
    Then the answer to your question yesterday, "What should be the result," is that she has to play with the tile she actually picked. There's no penalty for speaking a claim for a discard and then not taking the discard. See FAQ 19-AM - she's allowed to "change her mind" about calling a discard if she only spoke the claim. But she can't change her mind about picking if she moved the wall tile. The "change of heart" rules are clear.

    What should have happened, rule wise, if she was not the next in line?
    In that case, when she picked from the wall, she picked out of turn. She's dead. See rule 19 (e) on page 21 of the official rulebook. Also FAQ 19-CP. Play continues to the right of the now-dead player.

    By the way, re your question #2 yesterday. When playing by exchanging coins or chips, the player who misnamed someone's mahj tile has to pay the winner 4x hand value - but in a tournament, players are playing for points (not exchanging coins or chips). So the tournament organizer has to spell out how points are earned or deducted in this instance. The winner collects the same amount as they would have normally - just all from one player, who loses more points than they would from throwing win by discard. See FAQ 21; tournament scoring doesn't work the same as coin-exchange scoring.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 28, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How to handle these errors?

    On Friday, August 27, 2021, 12:43:12 PM PDT, james wrote:
    2 Mah Jongg Questions
    Tom,
    What should be the result if a player calls a discard tile, but instead draws from wall?
    What happens to the game during a tournament if a misnamed tile causes a mah jongg to be called? Does the game get replayed or what?
    Jim

    Hi, Jim. You asked:

    What should be the result if a player calls a discard tile, but instead draws from wall?
    You haven't given me enough information. Was that player next in turn?

    What happens to the game during a tournament if a misnamed tile causes a mah jongg to be called? Does the game get replayed or what?
    It's more involved than that. It's explained in the "Misnamed Discard" FAQ, FAQ 19-AY (In FAQ 19, it's "A discard was misnamed, causing a problem..."). Please bookmark FAQ 19 for answers to questions about NMJL rules.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can she change her mind?

    On Friday, August 27, 2021, 09:28:06 AM PDT, Shirley R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    A player called for a tile and placed it then realized she didn’t need it.Can she put it back?My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Shirley. Some verbalizations may be taken back, but most actions are commitments that may not be taken back. Once she placed the discard, she has committed. FAQ 19-AM explains the "change of heart" rules of American mah-jongg.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I have a very headstrong player who has been playing for 50 years...

    On July 12, 2021,
    Melody G messaged via Facebook Messenger:
    Hi Tom, as mentioned above [referencing a 2015 message unseen until 2021] I have been a professional Mah Jongg teacher for quite a while. Today while playing with a very headstrong player who has been playing for 50 years, She insisted that the dealer passes the dice to the LEFT to the next east. I told her the pass is to the RIGHT. We went back and forth until I said I’d look it up when I got home. Tried googling it and could not find a rule for it. Can you help me?
    She also insisted that in the second line of the 2021 section a player who called MahJongg was wrong. I tried telling her 0000 are neutral. I finally convinced her when I showed her the red info at the top!! Frustrating day. But a quint hand by myself so won .80!
    Melody
    Sorry didn’t sign my name!
    Melody G
    Vero Beach FL

    Hello, Melody!
    Unfortunately, although I do have a Facebook account and occasionally use it, I do not live on Facebook and I do not regularly use Facebook Messenger. So I never saw your 2015 request for a teacher listing in FAQ 4A. If you still want a teacher listing (either in FAQ 4A or on the Find Players/Teachers/Events board), you have to send me an email.

    Because I'm planning to move out of Los Angeles, I have started using Facebook to get rid of some of my old stuff, which means now I have to check my Facebook DMs. So I saw your question about the headstrong oldtimer 5 weeks after you sent it. Better late than never? You wrote:

    She insisted that the dealer passes the dice to the LEFT to the next east. I told her the pass is to the RIGHT.
    You are correct.

    I said I’d look it up when I got home. Tried googling it and could not find a rule for it.
    You will not find the official rulebook online. It's available for purchase only. I recommend you buy one if you're going to continue to teach American mah-jongg. You'll find the rule on page 15. It says "The next person in turn becomes East." If your headstrong player demands to know who is "next in turn," that answer is on page 11: "PLAY TO THE RIGHT." I'm pretty sure I also define deal rotation in my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind."

    She also insisted that in the second line of the 2021 section a player who called MahJongg was wrong. I tried telling her 0000 are neutral. I finally convinced her when I showed her the red info at the top!!
    Ain't it grand how nobody wants to actually read the rules? There have been changes to the rules in the past half-century.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What's the average value of a Piroxloid set?

    On Thursday, August 26, 2021, 03:38:55 AM PDT, gdb wrote:
    Piroxloid set
    Hi Tom,
    What would be the average value range of a well kept french ivory Piroxloid set? I’ve been wanting to get one but they all seem to be on sale for 500$, which feels so over priced…
    Thank you!

    Hello, gdb. You asked:

    What would be the average value range of a well kept french ivory Piroxloid set?
    I cannot help you. I can't and don't do "average values." Sorry.

    they all seem to be on sale for 500$, which feels so over priced…
    If you send me photos and condition information and parts list for a set (all the info specified in FAQ 7H), I could say whether it's overpriced in my opinion. But my preference is helping people understand what their own set is worth, rather than helping people decide whether or not to buy something from a stranger on eBay or wherever.

    Good luck! May the celluloid tiles be with you someday.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I change my mind?

    On Wednesday, August 25, 2021, 07:18:12 PM PDT, Virginia K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If you call a tile and lay down two tiles to go with it and have not discarded a tile can you change your mind and decide not to take the tile and return the two tiles to your other tiles or are you committed?
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Virginia!
    Once you put tiles atop your rack, you committed to making an exposure. As long as you haven't discarded yet, you can change the exposure, change a pung to a kong, for example, but you can't take back the exposure altogether. FAQ 19-AM answers all the "change of heart" questions in NMJL rules.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 25, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I hadn't taken my fingers off my racked tile yet, and...

    On Wednesday, August 25, 2021, 02:37:38 PM PDT, shelley c wrote:
    Racking tiles
    Today while playing I racked a tile but didn't remove my fingers right away as I was contemplating whether or not to keep it. Someone called for the discarded tille on my right and I was told that since my fingers/ hand was still on the tile I had to give it up. I was not hasty when picking up my tile from the wall. I always wait a second to draw the next tile and actually look at it before placing it in the rack. It really didn't matter whether or not I'd lose a turn, I just need to know as I would like to play in a tournament and want to be sure I know the rules.
    Thank you,
    Shelley

    Hi, Shelley!
    There is no rule about fingers on or off a racked tile. The tile was racked when the tile touched the floor of the sloping front of the rack. On the other hand, if you had only rested the tile atop the rack, that is not racking, so the tile was still available for calling.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 25, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 35

    On Wednesday, August 25, 2021, 10:14:44 AM PDT, Carmen S wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you so much for that clarification!??
    Carmen

    You're welcome, Carmen!


    Is it a rule you must call someone dead?

    On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, 01:52:17 PM PDT, Marilyn C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If you are absolutely certain a player is dead is it a rule you must call her/him dead? I know many do not for different reasons but is it a mah jongg rule.
    Sent from my iPad

    No, there's no such rule, Marilyn.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 24, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Want to see some valuable/rare sets, part 2

    On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, 06:46:21 PM PDT, <lindaz wrote:
    rare sets part 2
    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for the info on rare sets. I checked your sites and they had some photos of beautiful MJ sets. Wonder what the $ value was?
    Thanks, Linda

    Yeah, me too. If only that information was easy to get!
    Play safely and stay healthy, Linda! And, as always, may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 24, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 34

    On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, 02:00:58 PM PDT, Carmen S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Confused with explanation in () for last hand on 2021 card for “2468”.
    Can it also begin with 444 or 666 or 888 instead of 222?? or does it mean, the 222 4 6 888 in suits other than the other two 222 pongs???
    Thank you.
    Carmen

    Hi, Carmen!
    You asked about 2468 #8, which reads on the card:

    222 4 6 888 222 222 (Like Pungs 2, 4, 6 or 8 in Other 2 Suits)
    (2468 #8)

    You asked, "Can it also begin with 444 or 666 or 888 instead of 222??" "Like pungs" means your last two pungs have to be the same number (any even number). As I wrote in FAQ 16: You have to have a pung of twos, a single four, a single six, and a pung of eights in the first suit. Then the two "like pungs" in the other two suits can be either twos, fours, sixes, or eights. For example:

      222 4 6 888 444 444
      222 4 6 888 666 666
      222 4 6 888 888 888

    There are lots more answers about the 2021 card in FAQ 16.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 24, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Want to see some valuable/rare sets

    On Sunday, August 22, 2021, 03:25:46 PM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    rare sets
    Hi Tom.
    Mylene's post on 8/21 was intriguing to me-- Do you have some pics of valuable sets you have encountered? Like Sotheby's worthy? Collectors have always fascinated me and make me wonder what makes an item valuable to one person and not to others. I realize this is an issue that is personal to the collector/buyer only. My theory is--In a famine, potatoes are more valuable than gold. Everything is subjective. I'd love to see sets that have high value due to relative rarity.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge! Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    You should see the Other Excellent Mah-Jongg Sites links in FAQ 4A. You can see sets on display in CHarli's museum page, and author Gregg Swain's MahjongTreasures. In FAQ 4A you'll also get links to the museum of Carli van Emde Boas, and Michael Stanwick's mah-jongg history site. I've got pictures of my favorite Babcock set in column 610.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 22, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Seat wind positions in American/NMJL

    On Sunday, August 22, 2021, 04:44:05 AM PDT, Timothy A wrote:
    Wind location on the table
    Hi Tom, A discussion on a Facebook page recently caused some confusion as to which wind is sitting to the Right of East.
    The normal compass would be (moving right) - East, North, West and then South.
    Apparently, when the Chinese developed the game their rotation was different (again voting Right) - East, South, West, North.
    I find nothing in the book Mah Jongg Made Easy showing anything but East. I do realize that in American Mah Jongg, there aren’t ‘bonus points’ for having sets of your seats Winds, but it would be nice to know IF the American version followed their ‘Compass’ or not.
    TimA

    Hi, Tim.
    "Seat winds" are not a thing in American mah-jongg. As you noted, the dealer is East - but as you found out, none of the other seats' winds are defined (probably because the original Chinese seat order is confusing to Westerners, who logically view the table as a map).
    Whenever I talk about player seat positions in an American/NMJL game, I use the terminology "E - 2- 3- 4," moving counterclockwise (to the right).


    (It's traditional to show E at the bottom of a mah-jongg table)

    In American tournaments, the organizers may put the 4 compass directions on the walls of the venue, using Western norms (E-N-W-S, corresponding to a map as above), for purposes of player rotation between rounds. I do not try to tell those organizers they're doing it "wrong." I mean, it makes perfect sense for the North seat to have its back to the northern wall of the venue. But as I've often said, American mah-jongg is the weirdo of the mah-jongg world. Just go the way the winds blow where you are.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 22, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Does it count as "disclosing a bet" if the bettor watches one player intently?

    On Saturday, August 21, 2021, 05:40:48 PM PDT, ahuvas wrote:
    Question about the Bettor
    Hello Tom,
    In the Mah Jongg Made Easy booklet P. 24 Rules for Bettors, it states that
    1. Bettor shall not be permitted to disclose a bet.
    3. If the bettor interferes with the play of the game in any way, they do not receive the benefits of the bet, but must pay appropriate amount due at the conclusion of the game.
    So my question is when a bettor stands behind the person that they bet on and watches them intently would you consider this disclosure or interference with play of the game?
    When someone stands behind a player and watches what they are doing I have been 100 % right in knowing who they bet on because to me they are disclosing their bet.
    What is your opinion?
    Thank you,
    Susan from NY


    Apologies to Charles Schulz

    Hi, Susan!
    In my games, we have always been careful NOT to give away who's bet on. If I'm the bettor and I'm standing, I'm not standing in one place for long. Once I determine what the bet-on needs, I'm checking out other players' tiles to see where the hot tiles are. Sometimes I just go take a seat when play begins (maybe in a position where I can watch two players' hands, not just one), and maybe I flip through a magazine or my phone until the hand ends.
    A bettor could use this "vulture's perch" behavior unintentionally, creating a dead giveaway (as you say), or intentionally, to mislead. Instead of looking at the bet-on's hand, she might be using misdirection. Perching over the bet-on could cause the other players to dog their hands, causing the bet-on to lose. Perching over another player could cause players to throw tiles they don't think the perched-over player needs, thus perhaps throwing tiles the bet-on needs. The behavior is bad either way, and can influence the behavior of the not-bet-on players.
    Have you brought this up to the group? Open discussion can lead to group consensus on how the group wants to comport itself. It should be obvious to everyone that perching over one player is misbehavior, whether the vulture is a bettor or even just an interested observer. When someone has perched in any of my games, the perchee invariably growls at the vulture to let them know such behavior is unwelcome. The phrases "do you mind?" and "go away" have been heard.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    8/21/21
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is sharing information good etiquette?

    On Saturday, August 21, 2021, 07:03:22 AM PDT, Dianne M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I was reading a post about mahjong rules and etiquette but there was no mention about whether it is OK for players to openly discuss what another player may be collecting either from evaluating their revealed tiles, their discards or passed tiles. Is it allowed to discuss this and advise other players to avoid giving “Mary” a certain tile?
    Sent from my iPad

    That is most definitely NOT okay, Dianne. How would you feel if another player said "Dianne is working on Winds-Dragons #4, so nobody should discard South or a Flower!"
    I'm curious - where did you read this post about rules and etiquette that didn't mention information sharing? Facebook? My FAQ 9 includes a discussion about giving information in the Comments section. And I wrote column 467 and column 654 about this topic.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 21, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Material, age, and value of this set on eBay

    On Saturday, August 21, 2021, 05:21:08 AM PDT, Mylene Angelie B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom, I saw the following on Ebay and I love the design. I would like to buy it, but I am concerned as I can find little to nothing about it. Also the one bam seems to have a unique design. Would you be able to establish material, age/year and value of the following?

    Hi, Mylene. You wrote:

    I love the design.
    Really? What do you love about it?

    the one bam seems to have a unique design.
    Really? What's unique about the design?

    material
    Catalin or Bakelite, probably. See FAQ 7C.

    age/year
    Those tiles could have been made anytime from the 1930s to the 1970s. That leather (?) case doesn't look decrepit enough, so it might be of more recent origin. And how do those tiles fit in that case, anyway? Never saw that type of case before.

    Would you be able to establish ... [its] value...?
    As I wrote in FAQ 7H, condition is all-important. The tiles are not all the same color (some are faded in uniquely identifiable ways), meaning when used in play, a player can learn to identify tiles by the fade patterns on their backs. I can't tell if the tiles are shiny or not; they don't seem to have any of their original shine anymore. There are no dice or chips or other accessories. I wouldn't pay more than $10 for it myself - for parts, to rescue similar sets.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 21, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 33
    On Tuesday, August 17, 2021, 06:18:55 PM PDT, Leslie F wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    The second combo, in 2021 reads
    222 0000 (in green, followed by blue) 2222 1111
    Any 2 suits
    So soaps are in the dots suit
    Do those preceding 2’s also need to be dots?
    The “any 2 suits” , therefore, is misleading, grammaticallyplease clarify
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Leslie!
    The twos do not have to be dots. See the red text above the 2021 section: "WHITE DRAGON IS USED AS ZERO '0'. IT MAY BE USED WITH ANY SUIT. (CRAKS, BAMS OR DOTS)"
    If you need to know more, the rule is explained in detail in FAQ 16 - along with other frequently asked questions about the 2021 card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA



    What is the best way to load a case for American sets?

    On Thursday, August 12, 2021, 04:44:09 PM PDT, Laury T wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Howdy! My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In your judgement, what is the best way to load an American Mahjong, Mahjong case? “Best” meaning, what would be easiest on the case & the racks. I’m not referring to trumpet-style cases where racks are below the tile holder, but rather to cases where racks are either in front of or behind tile holders. Do the tile holders go in first, then the racks or vice versa? I have 35 sets/ cases and want to do right by them. Thanks much!
    Laury T
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Laury.
    I put the tiles at the hinge side, and the racks at the handle side. The tiles are heavier than the racks, and the racks are more fragile than the tiles, and it's natural to stand the case handle-side up.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are the rules for serving the walls?

    On Thursday, August 12, 2021, 08:28:09 AM PDT, tishd wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    What are the rules for each player pushing their wall to center following completion of prior wall? (One of our players consistently hand picks all tiles from her wall and adds to the end of prior wall before that wall is finished rather than waiting to push her entire wall to center.) Thank you.
    Pat D
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Pat! You asked a question and made a statement:

    What are the rules for each player pushing their wall to center following completion of prior wall?
    The rules are silent on this matter, Pat. What we're talking about here is table practices and formalities. There is no written rule describing how a player must serve her wall.

    One of our players consistently hand picks all tiles from her wall and adds to the end of prior wall before that wall is finished rather than waiting to push her entire wall to center.
    It sounds time-consuming (if done all at once, not piecemeal between turns). Also it sounds like she might be sensitive to any conceived embarrassment or criticism, may be worried that she might screw up serving a wall the wrong way for everyone else's satisfaction. (But I may not be envisioning the actual technique she's using.)
    Or maybe she has difficulty effectively hiding her concealed tiles while using the rack to swing the wall (you probably don't have those swingy-arm things, also called "pushers"). The use of one's card to hide the tiles while swinging out the rack and wall is tricky for people with arthritis.
    It's also possible that she's just trying to keep the shrinking wall a little longer because some players get confused which end they're supposed to pick from, especially when the wall is just 2 or 3 stacks long.
    I have done the same thing - adding two stacks from my wall (which is actually two stacks longer than the rack) to the end of the previous wall, so that when I swing out my wall, there are no extra stacks to contend with in the process.
    There's probably "no harm, no foul" in her way of doing things, but if the rest of the players at the table are unanimous that she needs to move the whole wall in one move, then you'll have to teach her the tricks.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Please evaluate, part 6

    On Thursday, August 12, 2021, 07:28:28 AM PDT, James H wrote:
    Re: Please evaluate
    Tom, Thanks for the evaluation and identification!
    Best regards, James H


    Did "F" stand for "Flower" back in 1964?

    On Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 09:23:10 AM PDT, jamesc wrote:
    Another question
    Tom,
    Thanks for the response on the flowers.
    Another question:
    On the 1964-65 card its says the game is based on 12 Flowers and 4 Big Jokers.
    Does that mean that the Flower tiles were only for the "F" on the card and not as wild cards as you said prior to 1984?
    Jim

    Look on the back of the card, James. It clearly says that "F" stands for "Flower." The rule change in 1984 that wild tiles could not be used in a single or pair (a rule that has continued to today) has nothing to do with flowers, since flowers were no longer wild in 1984, since jokers appeared in 1961. Flowers were wild before 1961. Jokers have been wild since 1961. Flowers have not been wild since 1961. I hope this is clear.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Before there were jokers

    On Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 07:10:47 AM PDT, jamesc wrote:
    Flowers before Jokers
    Tom,
    Just a quick check.
    Before there were Jokers (including "Big" Jokers) the flower tiles were always used as wild cards in a hand.
    Is this correct?
    And, could they be used to replace any tile in a 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-tile set without violating a rule?
    Jim M

    Hi, Jim. You asked 2 questions:

    Before there were Jokers (including "Big" Jokers) the flower tiles were always used as wild cards in a hand.
    Is this correct?
    Yes.

    And, could they be used to replace any tile in a 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-tile set without violating a rule?
    Yes, but you are assuming today's joker rules applied to flowers before the introduction of jokers in 1961. Today's rules were added a bit at a time, as listed in FAQ 11-H. Before 1984, wild tiles (be they flowers or jokers) could be used in not only pungs or greater but any tile, even singles and pairs.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 11, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Please evaluate, part 5

    On Monday, August 9, 2021, 08:19:47 PM PDT, James H wrote:
    Re: Please evaluate
    Tom, thank you for the heads up on Ray's response.
    Ray, thank you for taking the time to research and respond. Have you not seen a set from the Water Margin?
    A link on the Wiki page leads to "Water Margin: Chinese Robin Hood and His Bandits"
    Lin Chong appears to be the main character.
    Tom, this box of Die was in the bottom drawer buried under some costume jewelry. Does this belong to my set?
    Best regards James H

    Yes, James, those dice and their "coffin" are standard in standard 1920s sets. See column 610.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 9, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 32

    On Monday, August 9, 2021, 02:20:47 PM PDT, beejaybeeohio wrote:
    Re: Question- Consecutive Run Hand 5
    Aha! Thanks! I won!
    Barb


    Please evaluate, part 4

    On Sunday, August 8, 2021, 11:05:28 AM PDT, Ray Heaton wrote:
    James' flower tiles.
    Hi Tom,
    Hope all is well with you!
    I've been so busy I've hardly had time to look at your site for a month or two, but I dropped by today and saw some great flower tiles in James' set from a little while ago, (12th July).
    I don't think his flowers are shown in the Faq, so I thought I'd tell you a bit about them.
    The flowers refer to stories from The Water Margin, both are Chinese Operas too, and, as can be surmised from the long beards on two of the individuals and triangular flags behind the shoulders of one, the tiles in fact do depict the operas.
    The stories...
    三打祝(家)庄 , this is "three attacks on Zhu's (family) village", also called "three attacks on Zhu's manor" and "Battle of the Zhu family village". If you search for the second of those, there's loads of hits including links to versions of the opera on-line.
    And...
    大收関勝, this the "capture of Guan Sheng": I haven't yet found a link to the opera but there's lots of info about Guan Sheng on line, including a Wikipedia page that briefly mentions his capture where he then joins the rebels.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Margin (for a general description of the novel)
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Ying_(Water_Margin) (describes the attack on Zhu's village)
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guan_Sheng (mentions Guan Sheng's capture)
    Ray

    Thank you, Ray. You are the guru of Chinese culture. I'll add this to the Mystery Flowers FAQ.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 9, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 31 (part 3 for the 10th time)

    On Monday, August 9, 2021, 10:16:08 AM PDT, beejaybeeohio wrote:
    Question- Consecutive Run Hand 5
    Hi-
    The 2021 card states FF 1111 2222 3333 one suit or FF 1111 2222 3333 3 suits'
    Our group is questioning whether the numbers MUST be 1,2,3 or can they be ANY consecutive numbers?
    Thanks,
    Barb B

    You can use any 3 consecutive numbers, Barb. You might want to bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 9, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Who is responsible for paying, part 2

    On Sunday, August 8, 2021, 06:39:20 AM PDT, Nightingale wrote:
    Joker redemption
    Re: faq 19-bo
    Is there a distinction between redeeming the joker from another player’s rack, and having the the tile already in your hand? In this case when the player calls for the 4 dot, she already has the 14 tiles needed for maj. Thanks.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Nightingale! You wrote:

    Is there a distinction between redeeming the joker from another player’s rack, and having the tile already in your hand?
    Before you can redeem a joker, you must hold a redeemable tile in your hand. Holding the redeemable tile is a necessary prerequisite for redeeming a joker. You might have that redeemable tile before your turn begins, or you might pick it from the wall when you start your turn - either way, the redeemable tile is in your hand. There is no distinction.

    In this case
    (Your screenshot shows my exchange with Susan B yesterday, below.)

    when the player calls for the 4 dot, she already has the 14 tiles needed for maj.
    After Susan B threw the 4D, another player at the table called the 4D. That player now had 14 tiles, but she did not have maj yet. She had a redeemable tile in the hand. Only after turning that redeemable tile into a joker did she have maj.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    8/8/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When do I have to [show] my concealed kong?

    On Saturday, August 7, 2021, 07:06:02 PM PDT, Glennis N wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Apologies my last question wasn’t very clear.
    If I have a concealed meld Kong and then I go onto picking up a pong from a discarded tile, do I then have to show my concealed meld kong?
    Glennis
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Glennis.
    If you're asking when you have to turn over your four face-down tiles, the answer is: when you declare mah-jongg. If your new pung completes your hand and it's mah-jongg, that's when you have to flip the concealed kong. If somebody else wins and people are curious about your concealed kong, you can show them at that time.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When do I have to meld my concealed kong?

    On Saturday, August 7, 2021, 04:48:08 PM PDT, Glennis N wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I’m in Australia and play western mahjong. My question is When you have a concealed Kong and then you show an exposed pung that you have picked it up from a discarded tile. Do you then have to expose your concealed Kong .?
    Thanking you
    Glennis
    Sent from my iPad

    G'day, Glennis!
    As I read this:
    1. There are four identical tiles concealed within your hand. And at least one pair seeking to form a threesome. And some extra tiles.
    2. Someone throws a tile matching your pair.
    3. You say "pung!" and expose the newly formed pung with the discard.
    So now, you ask, do you have to "expose" your concealed kong. I use the word "meld" for this, because "exposed concealed kong" sounds oxymoronic.
    No, you don't have to meld your concealed kong at this particular time. You can do it anytime it's your turn. But you don't want to hold it in the hand too long. You can get to a situation where your hand is all completed sets, but you need two tiles to win. Meld the kong, take the replacement tile from the back end of the wall, before your sets all fill out. If you want to do it after calling a pung (and before discarding), that's fine. Anytime it's your turn, while you're holding fourteen tiles (melded kongs count as three).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. I've added this to FAQ 20. - Tom


    Who is responsible for paying this win?

    On Saturday, August 7, 2021, 10:27:04 AM PDT, Susan B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Question - I threw a 4 dot Another player called this tile and put the exposure on her rack. Then she took a tile out of her hand, exchanged it for a joker that she had exposed on her rack and called Maj. Who is responsible for this. I said me because I threw the tile to begin with, her argument was that she picked it herself?
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Susan!
    Win by joker redemption is regarded as self-pick. The tile that gave her the win was the joker she redeemed - the tile she used to redeem the joker was something she picked (or was dealt). See FAQ 19-AN and FAQ 19-BO. You can bookmark FAQ 19 for your future rules questions.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mystery jokers

    On Friday, August 6, 2021, 02:14:51 PM PDT, shawnmartin.rocket wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A "joker" tiles?
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello Tom, I just got this lucite(?) set – and lucky me, it has the standard 144 tiles, plus 4 blanks, plus 4 that I assume are jokers, but curious as to what the image actual says/represents? Your expertise is appreciated!
    May be an image of text
    Shawn M
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Hi, Shawn.
    They are indeed jokers. You'll see others like them, with explanation, in the Mystery Jokers FAQ (FAQ 7-EJ).

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 6, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Appreciation and support

    On Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 04:22:45 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Aug 4, 2021 04:22:32 PDT
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Outstanding balance
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    PayPal

    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 30 (part 3 for the 9th time)

    On Tuesday, August 3, 2021, 05:28:53 AM PDT, Pepper B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My Mah-Jongg Question is:
    On the 2021 card, under Consecutive Run, Line 5.
    This line does not say "These Nos. Only" nor does it say "Any 2, 3, or 4 Consec Nos.
    This leaves the question: Can I use numbers other than 1, 2 and 3?
    It does not say either way.
    Diane

    Hi, Diane! This and other frequently asked questions about the 2021 NMJL card are answered in FAQ 16. Please bookmark it for your future reference. You can use any 3 consecutive numbers for Consec #5.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 1966 NMJL card, part 3

    On Monday, August 2, 2021, 04:14:57 AM PDT, jamescaboose wrote:
    Re: 1966 card and set question
    Tom,
    Thanks for the response.
    I also found a card from 1947 that sold for 10 cents.
    Jim M


    The 1966 NMJL card, part 2

    But wait! I think I know what that new rule was. I looked at the 1965 card and the 1967 card, and the difference is that the 1967 card also shows a "new" rule: jokerless hands earn double.
    Pretty sure that's what they were talking about on the front of your card, Jim.

    Tom


    The 1966 NMJL card

    On Sunday, August 1, 2021, 10:10:46 AM PDT, jamescaboose wrote:
    1966 card and set question
    Tom,
    We are planning a local Mah Jongg tournament and want to use the card from 1966.
    The card says that the "Standard Based on 8 Flowers and 6 Big Jokers", but that does not add up to 16.
    What do we use for "Big Jokers" or can we use the regular joker tiles?
    Was the game played with 2 less tiles then, rather than now?
    We only have the "hand" side of the card. The language on this side says that we (See Additional New Ruling on back of card). Any idea what that meant?
    Thanks for your help on this.
    Jim M

    Hi, Jim! You asked:

    The card says that the "Standard Based on 8 Flowers and 6 Big Jokers", but that does not add up to 16.
    I don't understand. What does the number 16 have to do with anything?

    What do we use for "Big Jokers" or can we use the regular joker tiles?
    "Big Jokers" are called "Jokers" today. The terms are interchangeable.

    Was the game played with 2 less tiles then, rather than now?
    Rather than me trying to do any difficult mathematics (just kidding), maybe you should take a look at the F/J chart in column 509. The number of flowers and jokers was in constant flux from 1937 to 1971.

    The language on this side says that we (See Additional New Ruling on back of card). Any idea what that meant?
    That means you need to see the back of the card. I'm sorry, but I can't help you figure out what this "new ruling" was, since I do not have that card in my collection.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Bovine bone? Looks like Bakelite to me.

    On Saturday, July 31, 2021, 09:19:50 AM PDT, madeleineh wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom<
    I have been monitoring a Mah Jongg set for sale on EBay. It is available for $4,679.00. The seller claims it is high quality bovine bone and bamboo. I am curious as to what you think regarding the “bone”. It looks like Bakelite to me, but I’ve never come across a set using Bakelite and bone.
    Image 21 - Beautiful Antique Mahjong Set
    To clarify, I’m not interested in purchasing the set. A little rich for my blood. Just curious as to what your educated guess might be regarding the material.
    Cheers,
    Madeleine H

    Hi, Madeleine!
    Hard to tell from the photo. But I don't see why these tiles couldn't be cow bone. Bakelite (actually Catalin) tiles are usually yellow. Looks like there might be Haversian system on the 9D tile.
    Funny that you're more concerned with what the HUGELY overpriced set is made of than its asking price. Almost five grand??? For an ivory set, MAYBE. But for a bone-and-bamboo set to sell for that much, it must be of insane quality and beauty.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if two players say "you're dead" simultaneously?

    On Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 02:00:52 PM PDT, Michael R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom
    Thanks for your never ending information and advice.
    My question - what is the rule when two players call another player ‘dead’, at the identical time?
    i) if both callers are correct in their calls
    ii if both callers are wrong in their calls
    Thank you,
    Michael

    Hi, Michael,
    I never heard of two people saying "you're dead" in perfect unison, so that the other two people cannot determine which one spoke first. The official rules only discuss one person calling another dead. If you have a situation where it's not possible to identify which one person spoke first, AND the challenged player denies being dead (whether rightly or wrongly) then I can think of two ways you could resolve it:
    1. Split the 50¢ - either (A) each erroneous death-declarer pays 25¢ or (B) each death-declarer gets 25¢ from the erroneous death-denier.
    2. Flip a coin to determine which death-declarer is to be considered to have started speaking first (winner of the coin flip takes the whole 50¢, or loser of the coin flip pays the whole 50¢).
    I lean towards #1, but I suppose the League would have an opinion on the matter. I recommend snailmail over phone for getting answers from the League (see FAQ 19-BN).

    If you haven't read FAQ 19-AB, please do. The FAQ explains what to do if the death declaration is wrongly denied or erroneously made. (There is no payment involved if the challenged player just says "yes, you're right, I'm dead.")
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 28, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Turning the last stack sideways, part 2

    On Monday, July 26, 2021, 10:46:23 PM PDT, Regina P wrote:
    National Mah Jongg Rules question
    Hi,
    I know you really hate it when people ask the same question - over and over, and for good reason. It's annoying. I hope this question has not been asked before, especially recently.

    I have done extensive research on this matter (I re-read your book, which I own, I read the League's Mah Jongg Made Easy booklet, and I re-read most of your FAQ site, especially those sections which I thought might be relevant) and yet I cannot find any reference to this question. The question is this : Is it a table rule that a player may turn the last 2 stack of tiles in the wall at right angles to the wall to "mark" the end of the wall? I don't teach this as a solution to "where is the end of the wall" versus the front, but so many people insist on doing it in any case. I don't "correct" them because I really don't know what the rule is, or if there is one. We had a discussion tonight at our weekly game regarding this matter and since I can't find it written as a "rule" in any documentation, I am assuming it is a "table rule". Will you comment? Thank you for your time.

    Incidentally, I really, really wish you would offer an American Mah Jongg Teacher's class - even a virtual one would be great, and yes, I would pay for the privilege of taking your class. I have been teaching American MJ for about 10 years now (and playing for 20) but I would really like to have the benefit of having been officially trained by you. I know some gal has recently offered a "certification" program but her credentials for doing so were not apparent. Your credentials are well known and highly respected. Yours would be a class I would take in a heartbeat!
    Thank you for your time.
    Gina P
    Dayton, OH

    Hi, Gina! The hat tip is because you have my book and you're a teacher and you researched before asking. You wrote:

    Is it a table rule that a player may turn the last 2 stack of tiles in the wall at right angles to the wall to "mark" the end of the wall? ... I don't teach this as a solution to "where is the end of the wall" versus the front, but so many people insist on doing it in any case.
    It's not a "rule." It's a harmless, optional, undocumented table practice. Even experienced players sometimes accidentally reach for the back end of the wall, and seeing that sideways last stack says "uh-uh-UHH!" I've seen it done at national and international tournaments. It is not a NMJL-specific thing; it's global. Nobody reasonable objects to the practice.

    I hope this question has not been asked before, especially recently.
    March 23. Joann F (below). No biggie. It's not a frequently asked question.

    wish you would offer an American Mah Jongg Teacher's class
    I have no objection to teaching teachers, but not while the Delta variant is killing people every day. And not until my life has settled down into a new routine (a lot of changes going on now). But, that other thing you said, actually those two things you said.
    1, you're in Ohio and no way am I going to be teaching in Ohio.
    2, you suggested online, and after having to teach Introduction to Business Information Technologies and Video Game Quality Assurance online when the pandemic lockdown hit, I am very aware of how much work is involved in just planning a course and preparing a syllabus, much less figuring out the technology for sharing a table with tiles. Mah-jongg is a very in-person kind of topic, hands-on-tiles. I do not know where to begin to teach mah-jongg online. I cannot at this time commit to teaching mah-jongg online, either for beginners or for teachers.
    And a 3rd thing:
    3, I would have to market it and figure out a universally acceptable monetization system and provide technical support for the teacherstudents. No, thanks! Is that 5 things in all?

    P.S. I appreciate the compliments. I took a good look at that online teacher course you mentioned. Assuming we're both talking about the same one, it's a well-prepared program that ensures that its graduates know the actual rules. The course doesn't teach how to teach. It doesn't teach how to teach strategy or etiquette, but it doesn't condone teaching table rules like picking ahead or hot/cold wall. [Added 7/27]
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A vote against dark mode, part 4

    On Sunday, July 25, 2021, 02:00:55 PM PDT, joan e wrote:
    Mah Jongg column
    Dear Tom,
    I enjoy reading your column and doing the exercises you give us but the last two columns have been almost impossible to read and printing it uses too much ink. The black background is the problem. Could you please go back to using the white background. It would be so helpful.
    Thank you.
    JoaniE
    Life is Good

    Yes, JoaniE. I already promised Susan H (July 19, below) and Linda Z (July 21) that I would do just that. I never figured on people printing the column. Nobody told me so many people print it - I was assuming people were mainly reading it on tablets or big smartphones. No new columns will use dark mode ever again, I swear.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 25, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 29 (part 5 for the 5th time)

    On Thursday, July 22, 2021, 08:31:38 PM PDT, Leslie F wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    on the 2021 card, for the N-S and E-W hands,
    are NS only odd numbers,
    and EW only even numbers?
    Thank you

    Yes. Just remember "East=Even."
    Please bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card, and FAQ 19 for rules questions.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 23, 2021
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A vote against dark mode, part 3

    On Wednesday, July 21, 2021, 06:42:39 AM PDT, lindaz wrote: a vote against dark mode
    Hi Tom--
    I have some vision challenges and I find the dark mode difficult to read.
    Thanks, Linda

    Message received, Linda. No more dark mode.


    A vote against dark mode, part 2

    On Sunday, July 18, 2021, 03:48:16 PM PDT, Susan H wrote:
    Dark Mode
    Hi Tom!
    Been following you and reading your columns for many years and really appreciate them - thank you!
    Regarding dark mode, I don’t like it. I print your columns and do them in the morning with my coffee. I have also printed them to give new players a taste of your columns and they are now also avid followers.
    They don’t print well at all in dark mode!
    Thank you,
    Susan

    Printing! I had not considered printing. Thanks, Susan. No more dark mode (the votes are 2 to 1).
    By the way, I'm in a very busy time, a lot going on right now - could not write a column this past weekend and won't be able to write one next weekend.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 19, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is the courtesy voided if someone stops the Charleston?

    On Saturday, July 17, 2021, 10:33:29 AM PDT, Jane S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If someone stops game after the first left , do you still do the optional exchange.
    Sent from my iPhone

    The courtesy is not voided just because someone stopped the Charleston. See FAQ 19-AH. You can also check page 13 of the official rulebook.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is it okay to win on a discard if I'm playing a concealed hand?

    On Saturday, July 17, 2021, 10:28:37 AM PDT, Jane S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing a concealed hand can you pick up to Mahjong?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Yes, Jane. You can claim a discard for mah-jongg on a concealed hand. See FAQ 19-BD. The rule is on page 15 of the official rulebook, if you have a copy (most people do not). Please bookmark FAQ 19 for rules questions, and FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Three players wanted to blind pass 3 tiles.

    On Saturday, July 17, 2021, 08:01:11 AM PDT, Jamshid R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Good Morning Tom,
    We were playing MJ last night. When we reached the “Final Right Pass” of the Charleston, 3 of the players wanted to blind pass all 3 tiles (I will designate them as N, W, and S plater). Only one of the 4 players (the E player) wanted to do get rid of 2 of her tiles by blind passing 1 of the tiles received from the person to her left (S player). We didn’t know how to resolve this dilemma. It seemed to us that the “S player” would be the only one unable to blind pass 3 tiles. Is that just tough luck or is there a fair way to proceed.
    Thanks for your help.
    Jam

    Hi, Jam!
    The solution is the I.O.U. method. In 2012 I proposed this solution in column 534. Since then, the League has adopted it and it's in the official rulebook on page 13.
    You can have your East pass one of her tiles and say "I.O.U.", and that tile can be passed blind around the table 3 times. It's silly but it gets the deed done. Note that nobody's hand was changed. OR... since nobody's hand changes at all, you can just say "okay, we all blind-passed" and skip the last right pass altogether, which amounts to the same thing.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Heavenly Hand, part 2

    On Thursday, July 15, 2021, 12:26:15 PM PDT, <lindaz wrote:
    (No Subject)
    Thanks Tom! I'll pass along your info which was very thorough!
    Best wishes, Linda

    You're welcome, Linda!
    Tom


    Heavenly Hand

    On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 02:15:37 PM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    i thought heavenly hand was common knowledge!
    Hi Tom,
    Today a new player asked "what happens if you're dealt MJ before the Charleston begins?" I started to describe "Heavenly Hand" and was corrected by the other 3 players. They referred me to the back of the card which states Charleston is compulsory--you must play the Charleston. (First sentence under CHARLESTON.) Of course I did not have a rule book with me. Nor is there anything on the back of the card describing Heavenly Hand. I thought it used to be mentioned on there but I guess not. I double checked the rules and I am correct. Do you think this should be mentioned on the NMJL card? It does not seem to be common knowledge among the experienced players I was with today, which surprised me. Would you advise me to write the League to have this included on the card, or is it too insignificant? I respect your opinion.
    Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda - long time no see! You wrote:

    i thought heavenly hand was common knowledge!
    Au contraire, ma cher!

    Of course I did not have a rule book with me.
    There should be a rule book present at every table. But I guess that's just me.

    Nor is there anything on the back of the card describing Heavenly Hand. I thought it used to be mentioned on there but I guess not.
    No. It was never on the card, to the best of my knowledge.

    Do you think this should be mentioned on the NMJL card?
    The thought never occurred to me.

    Would you advise me to write the League to have this included on the card, or is it too insignificant?
    I would not. The rule covers an extremely rare circumstance. The only reason people ask about it is out of curiosity. They ask what your new player asked. It does not surprise me that experienced players don't know about the rule.

    In 2010, someone asked me this question, the same way your new player did. I knew about Heavenly Hand in Chinese and Japanese and Western mah-jongg, but I couldn't find anything on it in NMJL rulebooks or newsletters. I wrote column 476, inspired by the question. Then I wrote to Ruth Unger, who was the president of the League, to ask her about Heavenly Hand. Her letter back to me is the first written ruling I have seen from the League on this question. A few years later, the question was asked and answered in a January newsletter. And only in the most recent editions of Mah Jongg Made Easy can you find the ruling (in the 2020 edition, it's the 6th bullet on p. 14).

    Column 476 is not the latest info I have on Heavenly Hand - best to refer to column 666, which I wrote in 2017. To get back to your question, I just noticed that the link to column 666 is way down near the bottom of the frequently-referenced columns page. I put it there, and I didn't put it high up on the page. It's not higher up on the page because it's a very obscure rule. To answer your quetion, I do not think the rule is so important that it needs to edge out something else on the card, or to make the text on the back of the card even smaller.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    14 Juillet, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if all players go dead except one?

    On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 10:48:46 AM PDT, Roberta D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If three people play with a dummy hand as a fourth. Two of the three players realize they have incorrect amount of tiles halfway through game does the last player with the correct amount of tiles automatically win?

    Hi, Roberta, you wrote:

    Two of the three players realize they have incorrect amount of tiles halfway through game does the last player with the correct amount of tiles automatically win?
    No. See FAQ 19-BW. Four players or three, if only one player is left standing, the hand is voided. Throw in all tiles and start a new deal with the next dealer. If you play NMJL rules, please bookmark FAQ 19 for rules questions, and FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    14 juillet, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can you claim a discard to expose a knitted set?

    On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 09:53:34 AM PDT, Karen W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello Tom,
    In Chinese Mahjong when building a knitted straight of 147-258-369, can you call a tile to make a sequence complete, before you’re ready to Mahjong? As you can in a “chow” or “pung”?
    I know the answer is “no” but can’t find it in writing in your book.
    It stands to reason because you get to claim concealed points if you draw your last tile.
    Thank you in advance.
    Karen W

    Hi, Karen! You are correct that the answer is "no." See rule 40 (c) in the section on "Claiming a discard for a melded set."
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Bastille day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Please evaluate, part 3

    On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 09:19:04 PM PDT, James H wrote:
    Re: please evaluate
    Hello Tom, thanks for your help.

    You're welcome, James.


    Your forward in Sandberg's book, part 2

    On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 08:00:07 PM PDT, Carole D wrote:
    Re: Forward in Elaine Sandbergs' Beginners book
    Thank you!

    I'm glad you came back. Our exchange kept rolling around in my head, and I realized I hadn't put the proper seal on my response. I should have ended my diatribe against bad teachers with my appreciation for Elaine Sandberg's book, for its clear and accurate description of how to play mah-jongg the right way. (I probably said that in the foreword, but maybe I laid it on a little thick about bad teachers so much that the good words got lost.)
    Play safely and stay healthy, Sandra. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    July 13, 2021


    Please evaluate, part 2

    On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 07:01:45 AM PDT, James H wrote:
    Re: please evaluate
    Hello Tom
    Thanks for your response.
    I found this information on your website link.
    Since I don't have Animal Flowers, would my set be Taoist?
    Best regards, James H
    https://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq02b.html#Details
    There are 2 games that use 148 tiles.
    SINGAPORE STYLE
    Uses 148 tiles (basic set plus 4 animal flowers).
    TAOIST MAHJONG
    Uses 148 tiles (including "gold dragons" which may be represented by blanks or jokers).

    James, your set is a standard 1920s Westernized Chinese set. It's normal for standard sets to come with not only the required 144 tiles but also 4 blanks that can be used to replace lost tiles. For more about standard 1920s Chinese sets, see FAQ 7B and column 610.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 13, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The original blue Dragon Joker

    On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 05:53:06 AM PDT, Ashley s wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Which sets had the original blue Dragon Joker

    I have no idea, Ashley. I assume you are referring to this:

    I've never seen one of those tiles in real life, much less in an identifiable set.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 13, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Your forward in Sandberg's book

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 11:11:01 PM PDT, Carole D wrote:
    Forward in Elaine Sandbergs' Beginners book
    Mr. Sloper I was given this book and I am a beginner. My name is Sandra M.
    I love this game from the first day I was introduced to it.
    Your forward I personally found to be VERY INSULTING to all the teachers out there. Your ego must be getting in your way of living that you had to slam the teachers. I have met 3 teachers, all are certified Mah Jongg by the International committee. The teachers for the most part take very little in money to teach the game that they love. Most teachers have 4-5 classes , unless you are in San Francisco or Los Angeles ( who charge more than anyone else) They spend their own time, and make copies of everything for each student, they bring all the materials that is necessary and most supply refreshments at no additional cost. The teacher I had cost only $45 for 4 days of classes, provided all the copies of everything, provided snacks and drinks(not alcohol) Was open to answering all questions either on the phone or email any time of the day or nite.
    Your forward, I am quoting "The rare player who was willing to teach a novice rarely explained, or even knew the details of the official rules." "These mentors often used unofficial table rules, which were than propagated as the way it's done." How stupid you must be. I can only imagine that you were taught by someone who saw you as an egomania and thought you would argue with them on every point thinking you know more than anybody. The teachers I know can quote all the official international rules word by word. They stress the rules and any of the unofficial table rules were quickly noted as one and we were told if you want to play that way it is not taught here. Maybe some house rules apply in private homes with regular players that add a little things to make them feel better. If I was the author of this book, which I am not, I would demand an apology from you in writing and publish it in all the newspaper's world wide. If you ever are given the chance to write a forward again, I would suggest that you recognize it as an opportunity and honor and treat it as such. The major thing I took away from your forward is that I am grateful that I am not married to you, or even a friend or acquaintance. But if you want me to write a forward for your next book, it would look something like the above.
    From:
    Sandra M, a New Mah Jongg player who is grateful for the teacher and other mentors who want everyone to enjoy this wonderful game.

    囧 Sorry you feel that way, Sandra. At the time I wrote that forward for Elaine, I had been answering questions about the rules of American mah-jongg for only a few years (it's now been over two decades), but I was already shocked by how many players had been taught unofficial table rules as if they were official. Hot wall, cold wall, picking ahead... as people play with new groups and encounter different rules, questions turn into arguments because some were taught made-up rules as gospel. I also encountered players at tournaments who were declared dead because they picked out of turn or made other forbidden moves, unaware of the real rules. And when I've taught classes, I sometimes had students who had been taught incorrectly. I believe it's fine to know table rules but all players need to at least know what the official rules are, because knowledge of the official rules gives one a firm footing when joining a new group or a tournament. In case you thought otherwise: I am grateful for my own teacher and mentors who helped me gain a perfect understanding of the rules. I want my students and readers to understand the correct rules, because I, as do you, "want everyone to enjoy this wonderful game."
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    July 13, 2021


    Rules for Taoist mah-jongg, part 2

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 07:42:32 PM PDT, Sydney P wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you very much.
    Syd

    You're welcome, Syd!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Please evaluate

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 07:41:54 PM PDT, James H wrote:
    Please evaluate
    Hello Tom.
    I bought this 20 yrs ago at an estate sale.
    I have no history. I was told it was Teak and Ivory. After reading your webpage, most likely it's not.
    The 5 drawer box needs some work, 2 drawer pulls are missing, fixing the poor glueing of the front panel and glueing a piece that broke off the front of the box.
    Perhaps the items glued on the top, 3/16 thick, and sliding front panel, 1/8 thick, make it more unique
    All I have is the 148 tiles, no accessories.
    Tile dimensions are:
    (1.242) 1 and 1 /4 long
    (.860) 55/64 wide
    (.600) 19/32 thick
    (.280) 9/32 bone thickness
    (.320) 5/16 wood with a curved bottom.
    I also have what I was told is 128 Ivory scoring pieces.
    I understand the Flowers tell a story, perhaps there was a battle these Warriors fought in. Thanks for your help.
    Best Regards, James H

    Hi, James. You wrote:

    I was told it was Teak and Ivory. After reading your webpage, most likely it's not.
    The tiles are bone and bamboo, not ivory. I can see Haversian streaks. I don't know if the box is teak or not.

    The 5 drawer box needs some work, 2 drawer pulls are missing, fixing the poor glueing of the front panel and glueing a piece that broke off the front of the box.
    Perhaps the items glued on the top, 3/16 thick, and sliding front panel, 1/8 thick, make it more unique
    The box is indeed fancy. But it's in very bad condition. I wonder what the front-and-top carvings are made of - might they be white jade?

    All I have is the 148 tiles, no accessories.
    I also have what I was told is 128 Ivory scoring pieces.
    So somebody counted the sticks for you, and somebody told you they were ivory. 128 is a good even number divisible by four, but I wonder if the denominations are all divisible by four. It's very unlikely that the sticks are made of ivory - such a valuable material would be used for the sticks only if the tiles are also made of ivory. I do not believe your sticks are ivory (note that I can't see them, so all I have to go by on that is what you've told me).

    I understand the Flowers tell a story, perhaps there was a battle these Warriors fought in.
    You can take a look at the "Mystery Flowers" FAQ - maybe you'll find some info there. FAQ 7E-F.

    You asked me one question, James:

    Please evaluate
    That's a tough one. I know that the box is in very bad condition. You never mentioned the condition of the tiles. Value is all about condition. By zooming in on your photo, I can see stains on a few of the tiles, and a lot of Haversian streaking. I have no idea what condition the sticks are in. Using the grading definitions in FAQ 7h, I'm going to be generous and say the box is in Fair condition - utilitarian but not attractive. (I assume the drawers contain the tiles and the front slides into place to keep the drawers from sliding out, and the handle can be used to carry the box. If I'm wrong on any of those, then its condition is Poor.) And without anything else to go on, I'm just going to say the entire set is in Fair condition (utilitarian but unattractive due to its flaws). The tile carving is nice, and the flowers are interesting, but not enough to overcome the deficiencies of their container. If the set was complete and in at least Good condition, it could be worth over $200, but it's not Good. Anyone who buys the set would have to do so with the intent of fixing it up. It's maybe worth $100 max, but I'm not comfortable with that because it needs a lot of work and parts. If those box carvings are white jade, $100 is a safer bet (note that I have no idea what jade is worth).

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I change my mind?

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 06:14:10 PM PDT, Joanne R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If I call a tile and expose the matching tiles can I change my mind and put the called tile back on the table and put my tiles back in my rack?
    Joanne
    iPhone X

    You exposed tiles, Joanne. You committed to making that play. No backsies. See all the "change of heart" rules at FAQ 19-AM (one of the MOST frequently asked questions about American/NMJL rules).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Rules for Taoist mah-jongg

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 05:05:30 PM PDT, Sydney P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you please send rules to Taoist MahJongg?
    Thank you.
    Syd

    Hi, Syd. All I know about Taoist mah-jongg I learned from Jeff G when he emailed me on January 1st, 2018.
    See the conversation at https://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive42.htm#Taoist. Do read especially our back-and-forth correspondence on January 2nd, about the 4 files he sent me. Those files are available for you to download at sloperama.com/downlode/mahjongg/.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mahj with too few tiles

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 04:06:45 PM PDT, Nightingale wrote:
    Slope question
    Re:NMJL
    Player makes an exposure of a kong.
    Play continues.
    Player picks a tile from the wall, calls mahj and puts their tiles on the top of the rack. There are only 13 tiles.
    Do the nine tiles just put up stay on the top of the rack or get moved back to the sloped part of the rack.
    Thanks.

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 04:14:45 PM PDT, Nightingale wrote:
    Re: Slope question
    Clarification- hand is dead and that player is out. Question is only about what happens to the nine tiles.
    Thanks.

    Hello, Nightingal! You wrote:

    There are only 13 tiles.
    Doh!

    Do the nine tiles just put up stay on the top of the rack
    So you're saying the player already had an exposed kong atop the rack?

    or get moved back to the sloped part of the rack.
    This. Erroneously-exposed tiles must be put back on the sloping front of the rack. This is stated in 3 places in FAQ 19:
    FAQ 19-P (second bullet)
    FAQ 19-AA (first paragraph after the bullets)
    FAQ 19-CK (third Q)
    The previously-exposed kong should stay atop the rack.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    If you have a mahjong mid Charleston

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 12:34:07 PM PDT, Nancy C wrote:
    Charleston
    If you have a mahjong mid Charleston do you declare it and stop the game or do you have to continue the Charleston?

    Hi, Nancy. You didn't say which mah-jongg rules you play. I assume you play NMJL rules, not Wright-Patterson rules. The thing is, it depends on which Charleston pass you're on when you obtain the winning tile(s). See column 666 for full details.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I picked up a discarded tile and used that tile to redeem a joker

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 09:22:19 AM PDT, vogue13 wrote:
    question
    I picked up a discarded tile and used that tile to free up MY joker in my exposed Pung and then used that joker to Mahjong. Did i do the right thing?
    Thanks

    Hi, vogue.
    It is illegal to claim a discarded tile for the purpose of joker redemption. See FAQ 19-G. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for future questions about National Mah Jongg League rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The Red Dragon & The West Wind, part 2

    On Saturday, July 10, 2021, 06:25:18 PM PDT, Stella W wrote:
    re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I bought the ebook from Amazon and will try to decipher which pages I need to update. Thank you
    Stella

    Sounds like a plan!


    The Red Dragon & The West Wind

    On Saturday, July 10, 2021, 01:15:49 PM PDT, Stella W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    What is the latest publication date for your book the red dragon & west wind please
    Stella

    Thanks for asking, Stella. It was published in 2007. There haven't been any new editions. I couldn't say whether there have been additional printings. The book was not written to accompany a particular NMJL card. Because there have been some rule changes since 2007, I always recommend the errata as a free-to-download companion to the book.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    July 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Filling the only place

    On Friday, July 9, 2021, 09:45:45 PM PDT, Dawn B wrote:
    To:Mahjong Guru Tom Slope
    Filling the only place in going Mahjong
    Hi Tom,
    I have perused your site extensively and could not find my
    question being answered. I read FAQ 22 where you explain
    and show hands in regards to "Combine-Just-Once ("exclusionary") rule.
    So here I go: Can you please explain and show examples of filling the only place. ?
    See how I am interpreting and correct me if I am wrong...and/or show me other examples.
    ie: I am thinking that if one mj with a closed sequence of 123...having had the 1&2 already
    in same suit..that obtaining the 3 would be the only place. But ie: if one has a 23 and obtains a 1 in this closed
    sequence that the 1 is not the only place ...as they could of played a 234. correct?
    If waiting for the center # of a sequence and it is obtained that these middle #'s are the only place...correct?
    And having 2 pair in hand...and then obtaining the 3rd tile to make a pong and ability to go out with 4 sets and a pair
    that this is NOT the only place ...as getting the 3rd tile could be obtained for either pair. correct?
    Thank You..Tom I hope I haven't complicated things.
    I’m Believing G-d,
    DawnB

    Hi, Dawn! You wrote:

    Can you please explain and show examples of filling the only place. ? ... I am thinking that if one mj with a closed sequence of 123...having had the 1&2 already
    Yes, that's one ("Edge Wait")...

    if one has a 23 and obtains a 1 in this closed
    sequence that the 1 is not the only place ...as they could of played a 234. correct?
    Correct.

    If waiting for the center # of a sequence and it is obtained that these middle #'s are the only place...correct?
    Yes, that's another "only place"("Closed Wait")...

    And having 2 pair in hand...and then obtaining the 3rd tile to make a pong and ability to go out with 4 sets and a pair
    that this is NOT the only place ...as getting the 3rd tile could be obtained for either pair. correct?
    Correct.

    I hope I haven't complicated things.
    Actually, you haven't complicated it quite enough. You covered the Edge Wait and the Closed Wait but you didn't mention the Single Wait (when you have one lone single tile and you're waiting for its twin for mah-jongg). Those are fans 77, 78, and 79 on page 191 in my book. (My book defines NMJL and Majiang Competition Rules. I don't remember which variant you play.)

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 28

    On Friday, July 9, 2021, 06:15:27 PM PDT, Kim H wrote:
    American MJ 2021 question
    National MJ League American MJ 2021 question :
    Consecutive Run #1
    These No.s only
    Is it only dots since it doesn’t say any suit or did they run out of room?
    Thanks
    Kim

    Hi, Kim!
    You'll find the answer on the back of the card.

    You don't even have to read very much of it to find your answer (but it's recommended to read the whole thing). The first line of the first paragraph explains that 1 color means any 1 suit. Blue on the card doesn't mean Dots. Green doesn't mean Bams, and Red doesn't mean Craks.
    Please bookmark FAQ 16 for further questions about the NMJL card.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 9, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My new set has only 2 jokers

    On Wednesday, July 7, 2021, 06:44:32 PM PDT, jenny m wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I just bought a set. I have all the pieces but 6 of the jokers are missing.so I can't do 2 rows of 19 for each wall. Can the wall be shortened?

    Sorry, jenny, but no. You bought the wrong set. You need one with 8 jokers. The game will not be fun with only 2 jokers - players will be frustrated, there will be a lot of wall games... the game is balanced for 8 jokers, not 2.
    Maybe these FAQs will be helpful, maybe...
    FAQ 7R, "I need jokers!"
    FAQ 7T, How to make joker stickers (if you have enough extra flowers with your new set).
    But your best bet is to just buy a proper set for American mah-jongg.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    7/7/21
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if I pick my MJ tile but it's the last pick of the game?

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 12:35:14 AM PDT, Karen L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Your last pick of the game gives you MJ. Can you call MJ even though you don’t get another turn.
    During the game if the tile you pick is MJ you have to wait for your next turn to call MJ.
    Karen
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Karen! Sorry I didn't respond yesterday, but your email went to my spam folder for no good reason. You asked:

    Your last pick of the game gives you MJ. Can you call MJ even though you don’t get another turn.
    Yes, do it as soon as you have mah-jongg. It would be grossly unfair for the rules to say you can't declare mah-jongg as soon as you have mah-jongg.

    During the game if the tile you pick is MJ you have to wait for your next turn to call MJ.
    What? No, you don't!* When your 14 tiles** are a complete mah-jongg, say "mah-jongg" and say it like you're happy!

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    7/7/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * You're not playing some sort of "picking ahead" or "playing with a future" table rule, are you? If you are, I can't tell you how your made-up rules are supposed to work. See FAQ 14 (the Table Rules FAQ).
    ** (assuming you're not playing a 17-tile variant or picking ahead)
    P.S. This Q&A prompted me to write Column #751 on 7/11/21. - Tom


    She said she wanted it, part 3

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 10:02:25 PM PDT, Susan M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:


    She said she wanted it, part 2

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 09:02:55 PM PDT, Susan M wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sorry Tom. I didn’t read the whole thing and didn’t mean to shout. I was just emphasizing.
    Sue

    We'll let it slide this time, Susan! (^_^)
    Tom


    She wanted it but didn't take it, then after it was too late to take it she said she wanted it

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 08:46:11 PM PDT, Susan M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Have the rules regarding racking and discarding changed???
    Player #1 picks a tiles, looks at it, doesn’t want it, DOESN’T RACK IT, calls it, let’s say it’s a 4 crack and discards it.
    Apparently next player, Player #2 to the right wanted it but didn’t say so….then continues to play; pick a tile, proceeds to discard……AND THEN SAYS SHE WANTED THE 4 CRACK!!!!
    The next player, Player #3 then says that because Player #1 didn’t RACK that Player #2 has a right to take the discarded 4 crack.
    Please advise if this is correct. I don’t see anything in the rules that says I MUST rack before discarding, nor that Player #2 can complete his turn and then decide he wants Player #1’s tile.
    Thank you

    Hi, Susan! You asked:

    Have the rules regarding racking and discarding changed?
    Um... hold that thought.

    [After player 1 discarded] next player, Player #2 to the right wanted it but didn’t say so….then continues to play; pick a tile, proceeds to discard……AND THEN SAYS SHE WANTED THE 4 CRACK!!!!
    That's weird. She could have just claimed it when she had the chance, but it's even weirder to tell the world what's going on in her tiles.

    Player #3 then says that because Player #1 didn’t RACK that Player #2 has a right to take the discarded 4 crack.
    These are unrelated things. Player 1 having kept or racked the picked wall tile has nothing whatsoever to do with another player's right to claim her discard. There is no connection whatsoever.

    I don’t see anything in the rules that says I MUST rack before discarding
    Right. See the Picking & Racking FAQs - especially FAQ 19-BL ("Am I required to put a tile in my rack?").

    nor that Player #2 can complete his turn and then decide he wants Player #1’s tile.
    Right. That's a weird idea. Anyway, let's get back to your opening question:

    Have the rules regarding racking and discarding changed?
    Wellll... maybe, sometime since 1937, there may have been some ruling tweaks from time to time. But I can't think of any archaic rules that affect the situations you described, discarding without racking, or claiming a discard after passing it up. I have a recommendation:


    Left: The League's official rulebook. Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.
    Right: And then there's my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." - It's not bad, if I do say so myself.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 6, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is this considered pure?

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 03:10:10 PM PDT, Deborah H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    When playing:
    FF 2021 2222 1111 any 3 suits and you don’t use jokers is that considered pure !
    Deborah H

    Hi, Deborah!
    I assume "pure" means "jokerless." If you make that hand without jokers, it is indeed jokerless. You made two kongs without jokers, when you could have used jokers. If you're thinking you can't claim jokerlessness in the 2021 family, you can stop thinking that. Every hand in the 2021 section has pungs or kongs, where jokers could possibly be used. It's possible to earn the jokerless bonus in every hand in the 2021 section.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 6, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My set(s?)

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 12:43:26 PM PDT, jolie wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    i picked up what i thought was a complete mahjong set at an estate sale, but when i got it home and tried to make sure i had all the pieces, i found that i have most of one set and pieces of some other sets. i'm trying to work out which pieces go together, how many different sets i have pieces from, and how old they are.
    i've attached three pictures:
    rounded_set.jpg is what i believe to be most of one set, missing the flowers. all have rounded edges, and based on your site, i'm thinking they're catalin. these are 1cm thick.
    rounded.jpg are more rounded catalin pieces that may or may not be from the set in the first image. the bottom row of flowers has a slightly different color palette than the top three rows of flowers, so i'm not sure if that makes them the same or different sets. then i've got two people that don't seem to match anything. these are 1cm thick.
    sharp.jpg have sharp/flat edges, which based on your site may be casein instead of catalin? i've scrolled through all the pictures of tiles on your site and did my best to match them with what i think are related tiles. these are 1/2in thick.
    i think all of the extra pieces i have are flowers, not jokers. since i'm struggling to figure out how many sets i have, i don't know how many flowers are in the set, and then can't use your handy chart to gauge age. when there are more than 8 flowers in a set, would i expect to see multiples of the same tiles (like four sets of four different flowers from rounded.jpg) or would i expect to see all different tiles like sharp.jpg?
    can you spot anything that i've incorrectly matched up or deduced from all the info you've shared? have any ideas what i've got my hands on here beyond what i've already figured out from your awesome resource?

    Hi, jolie. You did a good job matching up the flowers. The bottom line is, you have a set with a hodgepodge of flowers. That's not uncommon, especially with old American sets from before 1970. Some of those flowers can be used and some should be discarded, depending on what mah-jongg variant you are going to play with the set (you need only 8 flowers for Chinese or Western variants, -- you need 16 tiles for flowers and jokers for the American variant). The main consideration needs to be how well the flowers blend in with your other tiles when placed randomly in a wall. You get to decide that. Note that in Chinese and Western variants, you may need a set of 4 "seasons" that can be visually differentiated from 4 "flowers," each set numbered 1 to 4. Unfortunately, it looks like you would need to use tiles from your "sharp" photo (bottom right) to make 1-4 in two distinguishable sets. But if you want to play American with the set, the flower numbers are meaningless and you can just go by how well the tiles fit into the wall. It's very likely no combo will be perfect; just make the best match you can.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 6, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Appreciation and support

    On Sunday, July 4, 2021, 04:01:59 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Jul 4, 2021 04:01:45 PDT
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
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    Thank you, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


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