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The Red Dragon & The West Wind

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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  • Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption, part 7

    On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 12:09:16 PM EDT, Henrietta G wrote:
    Mah Jhongg question
    Playing mah jhongg last night, this play came up and I do not think it is correct:
    One player showing three tiles and a joker,
    A second player picks up the tile to steal the joker,
    .It was toward the end of the game and the player with the tile to do the exchange decides not to take the joker, so, the tile is
    discarded.
    The player with the joker showing calls the tile, replaces it with her joker and declares mah jhongg with it.
    Is this allowed???
    Thank you for your response
    Henrietta G

    Henrietta, nobody is allowed to call a discard and then use it to redeem a joker, ever. See the rulebook, page 23, rule 5. Or see FAQ 19-G.


    This is 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.

    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
    Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 1:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA



    Donation

    On Friday, May 13, 2022, 10:43:52 AM EDT, Mary Lou F via PayPal wrote:
    ml.f sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You were sent $25.00 USD from ml.f
    To see all the transaction details, please log into your PayPal account. It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account.
    Transaction date
    May 13, 2022 07:43:41 PDT
    Buyer information
    Mary Lou F
    Instructions from buyer
    None provided
    Description Unit price Qty Amount
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama $25.00 USD 1 $25.00 USD
    Total: $25.00 USD
    PayPal

    Wow, thank you, Mary Lou!
    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
    Friday the 13th, May 2022 11:05 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I redeem a joker before picking from the wall, part 2

    On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 07:02:46 PM EDT, Debbie P wrote:
    mahjong question
    I have a mahjong question if you can answer it.
    Today I had two 8 cracks in my rack. I needed 4 to lay out.
    The person ahead of me discarded an 8 crack.
    Before I picked up her discarded 8 crack, I swapped a tile that I had for a joker on someone else’s rack.
    THEN I picked up the discarded 8 crack, and layed down my two 8 cracks, the discarded one I picked up, and the joker I had just swapped.
    Is that allowed? We weren’t sure. Since it was all done during my “turn”, we wondered if it was all ok.
    And if it’s ok, is there a certain order you have to do that in?

    No, that's not allowed, Debbie. See rules 4 and 8 on page 23 of the official rulebook. (Or see FAQ 19-M.)


    This is 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.

    A player can redeem a joker only after first obtaining a 14th tile in the hand, either by picking from the wall or taking a discard and making a complete exposure. 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
    Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 7:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Conflicting claims, part 4

    On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 03:40:29 PM EDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Conflicting Claim part #3
    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for responding to my previous email. I know you added several scenarios but I'm most interested in the scenario given in the original person's post which is your Scenario #1 in Conflicting Claim part #3.
    Regarding my use of the word "wait", I was continuing with this choice of words since this was the original word used by the original poster. So to clarify MJME does not use this word but rather it would be included in the definition of their word, "etc."
    I was so confused about the posting that I decided to call the League. Sandy said that according to page 14 of MJME, "wait" is acceptable as far as "etc." goes in this sentence, "They may say, call, take, I want that, etc. Anything indication a player wants the discard stops everything else.
    She also said that if someone is deciding they want a tile and verbalize it, any wall pick must be put back, regardless of whether it is the person's mah jongg tile. She said, this would be no different than someone picking the wall tile and seeing that it is a joker.
    In this case, mah jongg does not supersede everything else and that player needs to put the tile back in the wall. She said this is the way it is even though it is not in writing. She even put me on hold to confirm with who she called the Guru of the office, whoever that maybe. She said there should be no heated arguments about this since a verbal call or mention of considering a discarded stops the game.
    Anyway, hoping you can clear this confusion up upon your next post.
    Thanks so much!
    P.S. I'm sure you have this readily available but just want to be sure nothing is missed. I am attaching the page from MJME with the sentence referenced above underlined.
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    Hi, Debbie,
    I have to concede the League's ruling on the question. But I disagree with the League that "wait" is a call for a discard. It is not. Rather than "I want that," the speaker is saying "maybe I might want that."
    Maybe I was just feeling sick and tired of "wait" calls and wanting to lash out.
    Maybe I'm still in the frame of mind I was in when I responded to Kathy ("I was wronged!") on May 6, below. The player who said "call" to a misnamed tile loses out, while a player who says "mahj" on a misnamed tile wins. I know, not same situation. But still.
    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
    Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 7:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Conflicting claims, part 3

    On Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 09:18:00 PM EDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Conflicting claims, "wait" versus "mah-jongg"
    Hi Tom,
    I've been following the recent post "wait." I am not sure if I understand your statement 2. Mah-jongg supersedes everything else. So, if someone says, "wait," clearly permitted according MJME, pg. 14, and another player lifts a tile from the wall either simultaneously or a seconds later, has that tile in the air and notices it's their mah jongg tile, the person who said "wait" loses out on the discarded tile.
    I might be seeing this in the wrong light but under normal circumstances when a player says "wait" or any other chosen word(s), if a player picks a wall tile they have to put it back until the player that said "wait" decides they are taking the tile or letting it go. I didn't realize that if someone says "wait" and a player lifts the tile and notices it is their mah jongg tile, the player that said wait loses out. In a similar situation if the same player picked the wall tile and saw it was not their mah jongg tile but instead a joker, don't we always have to put the tile back in the wall?
    Is this what you meant by mah jongg supersedes everything else? Can you verify this for me?
    Appreciate your help Tom.
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    Hi, Debbie! When disputes arise, somebody has to make a ruling, and it can be controversial, and it can be wrong. You wrote:

    I am not sure if I understand your statement 2. Mah-jongg supersedes everything else
    It's a principle derived from various rules:
    - A call for mah-jongg supersedes a call for exposure (p. 20, rule 13.c.).
    - A misnamer has to pay for the table when the misnamed tile is called for mah-jongg, even though the caller was clearly not paying attention. (Discussed in the thread, "I was wronged!", below, and p. 21, rule 16.)
    - If someone picks out of turn and their discard is called for mah-jongg, the call is honored even though the discarder erred.
    - Normally, a player who loses a conflicting claim cannot ever get the disputed discard, except in cases where both said mah-jongg and the winning claimant turns out to have been in error (p. 20, rule 13.e.).
    There may be yet other rules that incorporate the "mah-jongg trumps everything" principle. It's a derived principle, not a standalone rule. When the printed rules don't cover a situation, sometimes a judge has to derive a ruling based on principles embodied in related rules. And there is another important principle: "There is an exception to every rule. Even this one."

    if someone says, "wait," clearly permitted according MJME, pg. 14, and another player lifts a tile from the wall either simultaneously or a seconds later, has that tile in the air and notices it's their mah jongg tile, the person who said "wait" loses out on the discarded tile.
    Is there a newer edition of the rulebook? I don't see anything like that on page 14 of my 2020 edition. I haven't found any rules about "wait" requests anywhere in the rulebook.

    under normal circumstances when a player says "wait" or any other chosen word(s), if a player picks a wall tile they have to put it back until the player that said "wait" decides they are taking the tile or letting it go
    Yes, of course. But things happen. Let's look at a couple of scenarios, but note that I do not know if J████ defines North as "the player to the left of East" as per the global (un-American) mah-jongg tradition, or "the player to the right of East" as per American tournament organizer practice. I will assume the latter (since most American players are unaware of the global standard), but I might be wrong. It doesn't matter for scenario A, but it matters for scenarios B and C.

    Scenario A:
    1. The game was moving along right smartly, a rhythm had been established, when a discard went out.
    2. Somebody said "wait," with an uncertain clarity or volume, while the next player in turn, still in the flow of things, picked and saw their mah-jongg tile. So the table hears: "Wait." "Mahj!"
    3. A huge argument erupts. Tempers are high, voices are raised. There's no printed rule governing this situation. A judgment call has to be made to calm things down.

    Scenario B:
    1. The game was moving along right smartly, a rhythm had been established, when a discard went out (from the North player).
    2. Somebody (the player at the discarder's left) said "wait," with an uncertain clarity or volume, and another player (the player to discarder's right), still in the flow of things, picked and saw their mah-jongg tile. The picker belatedly hears the "wait" request and, sighing, puts the tile back on the wall.
    3. The caller decides to take the discard, and makes an exposure.
    4. North plays again and picks the next tile on the wall, doesn't want it, and discards it.
    5. The next player calls "mahj!" on the discard.

    Scenario C:
    1-3. Same as scenario B.
    4. North picks the next tile on the wall and doesn't discard it, discards something else.
    5. The player who wanted that tile for mah-jongg may eventually get it, or might not.

    Scenario D:
    1. The game was moving along right smartly, a rhythm had been established, when a discard went out (from the North player).
    2. Somebody (the player at the discarder's left) said "wait," with an uncertain clarity or volume, and another player (the player to discarder's right), still in the flow of things, picked and saw their mah-jongg tile. The picker belatedly hears the "wait" request and, sighing, puts the tile back on the wall.
    3. The "wait" caller says "Sorry, everybody. No, let it go."
    4. The player at the discarder's right picks the next wall tile and says "mahj!"

    Scenarios B, C, and D all go the way things should go. But Scenario A happens too often. You say the rulebook does define a "wait" rule, but I haven't seen it. So in the face of a huge fight, I judged that the most expedient thing was to use the "mahj call supersedes exposure call" rule since there is no printed rule about "wait" calls.

    I didn't realize that if someone says "wait" and a player lifts the tile and notices it is their mah jongg tile, the player that said wait loses out.
    Don't put it that way. I didn't state an established rule. I am not the League. I derived my judgment from a principle. We all know from recent events (beyond mah-jongg) that judges can issue incorrect rulings.

    don't we always have to put the tile back in the wall?
    That's the polite thing to do, but that's not what happened. It happens all the time that one player doesn't hear what another player said and makes a move anyway. It happens all the time that tempers flare up. FAQ 9 discusses ways harmony can be restored in non-standard situations.

    Can you verify this for me?
    No, I can't. I am not the National Mah Jongg League. The League governs the rules. I can be wrong.

    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
    Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 10:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I send you some photos of my set?

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 12:48:09 AM EDT, Juan P L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I bought a mah-jongg set in an auction and I cannot find what year or where it is from. I researched and I cannot find any set similar to what I have.
    Can I email you some photos of the set I have?
    Best regards,
    JP

    Hi, JP.
    You don't have to ask if you can send some photos. But whether you do or not, I cannot give you a year of manufacture. Maybe a decade (FAQ 7-G). And maybe what country it was made in, or what mah-jongg variant it was made for (FAQ 7-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
    Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 8:35 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column #758

    On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 06:39:10 PM EDT, Julia S wrote:
    Column #758
    Hello Tom,
    In #6, you say "Twos and eights go together for the Evens family, but there aren't any fours, and it would be foolhardy to go that way." I was thinking about Evens #6 (flowers, twos and eights). I probably would have passed 5B, 6B and 6D, hoping that the next pass would help for either Consec #4 or Evens #6 before breaking up a pair.
    (Just noting that on the 2022 card, not all Evens hands require a four.)
    Julia

    Good call, Julia! Yes, I did ignore that hand. It is indeed a hand without fours, and my old habitual thinking met its match with the 2022 card.
    Let's take it a step further, having identified a non-Consec hand.
    1. The dealt tiles we're talking about: 3 pairs, 2C 7B 8D
    2. The 2468 hand I missed: 5 tiles.
    3. Consec #1: also 5 tiles.
    4. Consec #2: also 5.
    5. Consec #5: 5 again, two ways.
    6. Consec #4: 7 tiles.
    7. Consec #8 (the concealed hand): 8 tiles.

    And one step further yet: which tiles we can pass in the Charleston. We should preserve the two best hands (Consec #4 and #8). Every number below 6 is expendable, as is the flower. It's best not to pass a pair, and it's less than optimal to pass a flower. Break up the twos, pass F 2C 5B. So, I change my mind about passing 6D as I previously said.
    In the past, I've called Consec #5 the most powerful hand on the card. Look at those two ways of making the hand. That flexibility in one hand gives you wiggle room during play. If you want to preserve this hand as well, then you'd have to pass F 2C 2C now. It's not unthinkable to break a strategic principle now and then. But aren't two options enough?

    Thanks for giving us more insights into that problem, Julia! 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
    Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 9:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    I've added this to the Comments section in that column! - Tom


    Conflicting claims, part 2

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 12:27:36 PM EDT, Anita M wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    As to your response to the question of May 10 regarding the use of the term “Wait” to call for a discard I am quoting here from Mah Jongg Made Easy p14 “The Play” — “To claim a discard the player must verbalize their call by letting the other players know that they are claiming that discard. They may say “call”, “take”, “I want that”, etc.”.
    So having said that it would be interesting to know if the claimant in the question had verbalized the intent loud enough for others to hear.
    Regards,
    Anita M

    I hear you, Anita! There are two things to add, then, to my earlier reply:
    1. When speaking a claim OR requesting a pause, the verbalization must be made loudly enough so that everyone can hear.
    2. When requesting a hold, it's customary to be apologetic about it: "Sorry, everybody. No, let it go" would be better than just "No, let it go."
    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
    Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 1:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Conflicting claims, "wait" versus "mah-jongg"

    On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 08:32:22 AM EDT, <j████ wrote:
    Mah Jongg Question
    Tom,
    Please don't use my email or full name in your reply.
    The four players at the table are experienced and play rather fast.
    During the play:
    North discarded a tile.
    East said "Wait" because they want to think about the tile, but did not say "Call".
    At the same time, or very, very shortly thereafter the "Wait" was said, West lifted the next tile from the wall and realized that this was their mah jongg tile.
    There was much disagreement.
    What should have happened?
    J████

    A couple of things:
    1. "Wait" requests have no weight under the rules of mah-jongg (more on this below).
    2. Mah-jongg supersedes everything else.
    East should not have said "wait" (they should have said "call" or kept silent). West should not have picked once East said "wait." But once both missteps compounded one another, the solution is simple. You can ask if East would have mah-jongg on the current live discard. If not, West wins. You can ask East another question: would they like a slightly slower pace? You can also ask West to listen more attentively.
    "Wait" requests are strictly a matter of etiquette, with a double edge. It's polite for others to honor the request, but it's somewhat impolite to make such requests, since it interrupts the flow of play and adds uncertainty. When someone says "wait," the speaker should make the decision within 1 or 2 seconds: "I'll take it," or "no, let it go." The time to think is between one's turns - one should know what tiles one needs. "Wait" requests are a frequent source of disharmony in American mah-jongg.
    Then there's the strategic import; saying "wait" gives the others clues about what one is doing.
    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
    Tuesday, May 10, 2022 9:20 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 21 - and - Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption, part 6

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, May 9, 2022, 10:13:59 PM EDT, Tricia L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2022 card under 2468 last line.
    FF 246 888 246 888 (any two suits)
    Can you use a joker for the 2,4,or 6?
    Also if someone discards a tile you have exposed with a joker, can you pick up the tile and exchange it for the joker?
    Tricia L

    Hi, Tricia! You asked:

    under 2468 last line.
    FF 246 888 246 888 (any two suits)
    Can you use a joker for the 2,4,or 6?
    No. Read the back of the card. And see FAQ 16. Jokers may only be used in pungs, kongs, quints, or sextets. Those terms are defined on the back of the card.


    Every player should read everything on the NMJL card. Turn it over and look at the back.
    Left pane, the last paragraph before the numbered rules (the Jokers paragraph), second sentence.
    Look for the word "NEVER" in bold capital letters.

    Also if someone discards a tile you have exposed with a joker, can you pick up the tile and exchange it for the joker?
    Nobody is allowed to call a discard and then use it to redeem a joker, ever. See the rulebook, page 23, rule 5. Or see FAQ 19-G.


    This is 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.

    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
    Monday, May 9, 2022, 10:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    New Strategy Column is up for Mother's Day!

    Enjoy!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    I was wronged! (Part 2)

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, May 6, 2022, 11:29:45 PM EDT, Kathy B wrote:
    Just read your response. Thanks for your well thought answer and input. I see it in an entirely different light now and feel much better! Kathy
    Sent from my iPhone

    You are welcome, Kathy!
    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
    Saturday, May 7, 2022, 8:20 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I was wronged! Do you agree?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, May 6, 2022, 06:56:39 PM EDT, Kathy B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I’m aware that Mah Jongg is a game of eyes and ears… but this situation recently occurred and I felt Icwas wronged… do you feel the same?
    (American version)Near the end of a game, I heard the discard “2 Bam” before I even saw it, and yelled “call”, as the tile hit the table, it was actually a 2 Dot. Being so near the end of the game, everyone now knew the tile I needed. I felt this was a miscall, and as the back of the card states, she should have paid me… but one person said, because I used the word “call” initially, instead of “mah Jongg” I didn’t deserve to be paid. Obviously, no one proceeded to discard the tile I needed for Mah Jong. What is your perspective on this? Thank you for your time…Kathy
    Palm Desert, Ca
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Kathy!
    I'm going to run through it the way you described it, and comment along the way.

    K: I heard the discard “2 Bam” before I even saw it, and yelled “call”, as the tile hit the table,
    T: Shouldn't have done that.

    K: I’m aware that Mah Jongg is a game of eyes and ears
    T: Right. You should have laid eyes on it first, rather than speaking or giving any outward sign of interest in that tile.

    K: it was actually a 2 Dot.
    T: No penalty for the discarder. You didn't say "mahj," and you didn't expose any tiles. All she has to do is say "Sorry, 2 dot." You cannot take the tile until it's named correctly. If you don't want the 2 dot, the game moves on.

    K: Being so near the end of the game, everyone now knew the tile I needed.
    T: That's your own fault. You needed a poker faced reaction until you laid eyes on the tile.

    K: I felt this was a miscall
    T: Yes. I prefer "misname," but yes. I would have told her deadpan, "no, that's not a 2 bam." I don't tell her the tile's correct name - that's her job.

    K: and as the back of the card states, she should have paid me…
    T: It does not say that. It says "if Mah Jongg is called," then she would have to pay for the table. But you said "call." "Call" means "I want that tile to expose a set." If you'd said "mah jongg!," she would have to pay and you win and it's all her fault. In other words, I'm in agreement with the other player at your table who said the same thing. You made two mistakes: you spoke without looking, and you compounded it by saying the wrong thing. Sorry! But now you know.

    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
    Friday, May 6, 2022, 7:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 20

    On Friday, May 6, 2022, 01:45:31 PM EDT, Vickie P wrote:
    Question 2022 card
    1111 NN E W SS 1111 (Any Like Odd or Even Nos.)
    (Winds - Dragons #4
    Is this really any like number? Unsure why the card bothers describing it as odd or even. For example, can the numbers be 1111 and 3333 for odds?

    Hi, Vickie! You asked:

    Is this really any like number?
    Yes. Since it says "odd or even," it's truly ANY like number.

    Unsure why the card bothers describing it as odd or even.
    Surely so that it doesn't have to be listed twice, like
    1111 NN E W SS 1111 (any odd) and
    2222 NN E W SS 2222 (any even). Saves space on the card, doncha see.

    can the numbers be 1111 and 3333 for odds?
    No, those aren't like numbers. Can be 3333 and 3333 or 8888 and 8888... For an odd and even example.

    I'm adding this to the list of questions about the 2022 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
    Friday, May 6, 2022, 2:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Want to see some photos?

    On Thursday, May 5, 2022, 06:54:08 AM EDT, Chris C wrote:
    MahJong set
    Hello Tom,
    I found your website today and found it very interesting.
    Two days ago I bought a mahjong set from junk store in Lampang, Thailand
    For the moment I won't send attached photos.
    My set has no English or numbers on any of the tiles, they are obviously not made for export and I suspect that my set has never seen the light of day in the West.
    Each tile weighs 10g and definitely bamboo-backed, though whether cow bone or anything else I am not sure.
    The set is complete with what at first I thought was 8 white dragons then realised there were four and either the other 4 were spares or could be considered wild (jokers)
    The set is displayed in four boxes with what seems like internal red velvet and all four boxes are in a beautiful black velvet box that I have already provisionally cleaned up
    Inside the box there is a one-sheet (set of rules?) in Chinese and it looks quite old.
    I paid $15 for it.
    Would you like to see some photos?
    Thank you and regards from Chris in warm and sunny Thailand

    Hi, Chris, regards from sunny and cool Rochester. You can learn about the purpose of blank tiles in the Mystery Tiles FAQ. It would be unusual for bone tiles to be anything but cow bone or pulverized fishbone; maybe you already read "What's It Made Of?". If you have any questions I can help you with, I'll need to see photos. Otherwise, I don't need to see them.
    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
    Thursday, 5/5/22, 9:10 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption? (part 5)

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 05:36:43 PM EDT, Carmen S wrote:
    Thank you for your prompt reply.
    Carmen

    You are welcome!


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption? (part 4)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 05:06:49 PM EDT, Carmen S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: To clarify, can a discarded tile be "called” to replace a joker in an exposed unit if a hand?
    Carmen S

    No, Carmen. Nobody is allowed to call a discard and then use it to redeem a joker, ever. See the rulebook, page 23, rule 5.
    Or see FAQ 19-G.
    May the Fourth 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
    Wednesday, May the Fourth, 2022, 5:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption? (part 3)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 02:42:52 PM EDT, Doug D wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have an exposure with six cracks and a joker. Someone throws a 6 crack can I call it put it in my exposure and put the Joker from the exposure back in my hand

    No, Doug. Nobody is allowed to call a discard and then use it to redeem a joker, ever. See the rulebook, page 23, rule 5.


    This is 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.

    Or see FAQ 19-G.
    May the Fourth 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
    Wednesday, May the Fourth, 2022, 3:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Somebody called pung and seconds later another called mah-jongg

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 11:53:00 AM EDT, bigdoged13 (null) wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing mahjong, if a person calls a pong and seconds later another person calls mahjong, which person gets the call. To me the mahjong is late and therefore negated. If they called them at the same time, the mahjong would get it. Can you help
    Sent from my iPhone

    There are two principles to consider, bigdoged:
    1. There is such a thing as too late, but "seconds" is a very short time.
    2. Mah-jongg trumps everything else.
    You didn't say how many seconds passed between the pung call and the mah-jongg call, but what's really important is whether or not the punger discarded before the mah-jongger spoke. There is such a thing as too late, and that would be too late.
    You didn't say which mah-jongg variant you play, which might possibly matter. It might be a variant with one or more definitive books, which might possibly include a rule on conflicting claims that I could look up for you. But if somebody claimed mah-jongg before the punger discarded, "mah-jongg trumps everything else."
    May the Fourth 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
    May the Fourth, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers

    On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 08:31:49 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    PayPal

    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    May The Fourth 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
    May the 4th, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 19

    On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 05:01:31 PM EDT, rosemary f wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the singles and pair category, there is 7 pairs (with consecutive numbers behind it)
    and also is printed with all same color. Do they have to be same color(even though not stated) or can they just be consecutive ? Of different colors
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Rosemary!
    The card's color-coding is explained on the back of the card.


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card
    every year. There may be changes, and many frequently
    asked questions are answered on the card.
    Every player owes it to the other players to know
    all these basic rules of the game.

    It says right up top that 1 color means any 1 suit. So for the S&P #4 hand, you have to use seven consecutive number pairs in one suit. I'll add this to FAQ 16, which answers all the most frequently asked questions about the 2022 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
    Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 5:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can she redeem a joker before picking from the wall?

    On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 12:26:07 PM EDT, <jakret wrote:
    Mah Jongg Play
    Must a player draw a tile from the wall before stealing a joker from another players exposures? Recently a player stole the joker, then used it to call a discarded tile and make an exposure. Is this allowed? Never in 25 years has this situation arose.
    Judy K
    Myrtle Beach, SC

    No, that's not allowed, Judy. See rules 4 and 8 on page 23 of the official rulebook. (Or see FAQ 19-M.)


    This is 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.

    A player can redeem a joker only after first obtaining a 14th tile in the hand, either by picking from the wall (as you said) or taking a discard and making a complete exposure. 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
    Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 1:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I can't declare Mahj

    On Monday, May 2, 2022, 11:21:47 PM EDT, Harriet S wrote:
    question re not being to declare Mahj
    i have had this happen several times NEW 2022 card.
    hand i was just playing: two flowers, 579, in different suits. I had two flowers, 5 bams, 7dots, 9 cracks. had one joker with 9 cracks, one joker with 7 dots. kept saying must throw a tile. well doing that prevented me from Mahj, played a few more rounds, found two more jokers, still would not let me make Mahj. What is happening.
    thank you so much for doing this. i am very disappointed, i have asthma and twice a day have to take 20-30 of a medication that i have to inhale. this sure makes the time go faster, and i find if i am tired, this actually perks me up.
    i did look at the card and previous questions, but did not find this question addressed.
    harriet s

    Harriet, it sounds like you are playing a computer game. And while you are using the 2022 card, maybe the game is using the 2021 card. You should look to see if there is a way to tell the computer which card to use. I can't tell you how to do that because (1) you didn't say which computer game you are playing, and they all work differently, and (2) I didn't work on that game and I don't provide technical support for any computer game. If you can't figure out how to select the 2022 card in the game, you should contact the game's maker and ask them for help. FAQ 24 might help you with how to get tech support for your game. 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
    Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 7:25 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I hope you'll write lots of strategy columns, part 2

    On Monday, May 2, 2022, 01:05:24 PM EDT, lindaz wrote:
    thanks
    Hi Tom,
    Wow, you've had a busy year! (I have several friends who moved out of CA because of expenses and politics.) I wish you the best in your new home. I did NOT see your recent strategy columns and I thank you for reminding me where to look. I'll be spending the rest of today trying to solve your puzzles.
    Thank you, Linda


    I hope you'll write lots of strategy columns this year

    On Monday, May 2, 2022, 10:48:31 AM EDT, lindaz wrote:
    Quizzes for 2022
    Hi Tom,
    I hope you find time this year to post lots of your MJ "quizzes" -- showing sample hands and how to analyze them and decide which tiles to discard and which sections of the card to select. Sometimes you pick something which I never even considered! Your quizzes have really helped my critical thinking--I even learn from your -"ahem"- mistakes! (^_^)
    Thanks for your time,
    Linda

    Hi, Linda! Always great to hear from you. I've posted some columns since the new card came out. Maybe you haven't seen those?
    Last year I taught one last university semester, then spent months downsizing so I could move out of California to be near family and reduce my cost of living. That was my excuse for last year. This year I'm working as a consultant, paying off the moving expense, readjusting to the climate I grew up in, and relearning my way around the city where I learned to drive before I drove west to find a career. I'd like to promise you I'll write columns every week, but the future is unknowable. I'll try my best. Hope you enjoy the ones I do manage to produce.
    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
    Monday, May 2, 2022, 11:30 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 18

    On Sunday, May 1, 2022, 08:24:01 PM EDT, Jane S wrote:
    2022 Card, of course
    #2 under any like numbers.
    Only says ( 3 different suits. Doesn’t mention dragons)
    Is the hand to be played exactly as shown, with different like numbers or i.e. pung of 1’s are dots, dragons should be white, etc.
    Thanks for your help.
    Love reading your FAQ sheet and what some people have to say,
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Jane! You wrote:

    Only says ( 3 different suits. Doesn’t mention dragons)
    It doesn't need to. Dragons are suited, as explained on the back of the card.

    Is the hand to be played exactly as shown, with different like numbers or i.e. pung of 1’s are dots, dragons should be white, etc.
    You can use any number. Not just ones. If your first pung is a pung of, say, 6 dots, then yes, you match that up with a pair of white dragons. Then if your other pung is 6 craks, you match that up with a pair of reds, and finish the hand with a kong of 6 bams.

    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
    Sunday, May 1, 2022, 8:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She doesn't verbalize her calls.

    On Sunday, May 1, 2022, 04:22:40 PM EDT, Phyllis B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    One of the members in our group has a habit of just picking up a discarded tile (when she is next to pick up from the wall)without calling it and exposes it. Is this just poor etiquette? Sometimes we don’t notice that she has exposed. I guess this is our problem but it seems she is trying to go unnoticed.
    Thanks,
    Phyllis
    Sent from my iPad

    It's not just a matter of etiquette, Phyllis. It's a rule. Read the back of the card.


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card
    every year. There may be changes, and many frequently
    asked questions are answered on the card.
    Every player owes it to the other players to know
    all these basic rules of the game.

    It says a player "must verbalize their call." See also FAQ 19-CJ. But yes, it's extremely poor strategy to play using one's ears and not also one's eyes.
    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
    May 2, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Mystery die from 2016

    On Sunday, May 1, 2022, 03:15:01 AM EDT, Avis Rara wrote:
    About a picture included in someone's query, a long time ago, on your bulletin board...
    Hello, Tom:
    I wanted to clarify something about the piece in the photo I have attached to this message. Something which, if you haven't already learnt, I am sure you will appreciate.

    On an exchange you had with oldschoollee b in July, 2016, you mentioned that the die in the picture might be a wind indicator (and I see clearly why you would have thought that). It occurred to me that you might want to know (although much time has passed) the true nature of the object. The die in question is one of a set of two, usually sold as Paccoro, (also Paccolo, due to the Japanese language's phonetic ambiguity). I've also heard them referred to as Piccolo (mistakenly) in the West. In Japanese, the name is all in Katakana: パッコロ, or "Pakkoro". The name in Japanese in my previous sentence also contains a link to the Sasaki shop which sells them for ¥400 a set. You can also find them on Yahoo Japan for ¥1 more, although they are sold by the same vendor. Ichikawaya also sells them, but for ¥2000 each pair (!?). I bought mine, together with a bunch of other riichi mahjong stuff, with the help of White Rabbit Express (a shopping proxy system in Japan), since neither Sasaki nor Yahoo ship to the USA (Ichikawaya does, but they will get even more money out of you for the favor). I include those links because I know you like mahjong paraphernalia.

    I own a few of these, and they are very popular with my riichi pals. If you are interested in finding out more, you can see them (and read more about them) here (in an Imgur post I uploaded for a Reddit discussion, a while back). The Paccoro are basically substitutes for the typical 6-sided dice. The one in oldschoollee b's set is thrown to get the side of the wall to be breached, the other one, a black twin, has the numerals 1 to 12 in Sino-Japanese numerals.

    I am not going to allow myself to conclude this email without mentioning how much I have mentally profited from your writing and from your amazing website over many years. I am a big fan (and greatly identify with your mahjong passion/obsession). A big hug of thanks for allowing so many of us to wallow in the delight of this great trove of information over the years. And, by the way, thanks for your great book, from which I learnt to play CO mahjong, and which actually introduced me to the fun and challenge of NMJL Mah-Jongg, a game I underestimated for most of my life (before TRD&TWW, I had only played riichi (mainly), HKO, and British MJ). One more thing: Were you ever to come to NYC, where I live, and if you were to find yourself so inclined, send me an electronic holler, it would be my pleasure to buy you a drink or two.
    Fondly,
    Avis Rara
    (Please, if you ever publish any of this email, do so crediting me as Avis Rara, a nom de plume.)

    Avis Rara, thank you so much for clarifying the use of that mystery die. I'll add this to FAQ 7d, the "Bits and Pieces" FAQ.
    And thanks also for the kind words about my work, and the offer of liquid refreshment. I may just take you up on that.
    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
    Sunday, May Day, 2022, 9:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Confused about chowing down, do-over
    Tom here. Re-reading yesterday's Q&A with Stanley, I see that I did it wrong. This is a do-over. The original Q&A is just below, since these are all in reverse chronological order.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 29, 2022, 09:56:42 AM EDT, Stanley S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the many versions of “chinese rules” of MahJongg, is there any consensus
    about chows. Specifically how many are allowed.
    I have seen
    1. none
    2. Only one
    3. four is ok

    Hi, Stanley!
    There's mostly consensus, but there are outliers.
    No chows (your #1) sounds like Shenzhen style. Pungs and kongs only.
    The limit of one chow (your #2) is specific to Australian/British mah-jongg.
    Four chows (your #3) is allowable in most variants, depending on what numbers are included, and whether there is a minimum score requirement. For instance, depending on what tiles you have for the pair, you might have what's called "pin woo" or "chicken hand." Most Chinese variants, including Hong Kong rules, award some points for that. If your four chows include a "snake", 123-456-789, you can have a fourth chow to complete the hand. If your four chows are all in the same suit, and the pair is too, you've got "pure".
    Sorry for the missed-target answer yesterday.
    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
    Saturday, April 30, 2022, 7:20 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Confused about chowing down

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 29, 2022, 09:56:42 AM EDT, Stanley S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the many versions of “chinese rules” of MahJongg, is there any consensus
    about chows. Specifically how many are allowed.
    I have seen
    1. none
    2. Only one
    3. four is ok

    Hi, Stanley!
    You didn't say which Chinese variant you play.

    The limit of one chow (your #2) is specific to Australian/British mah-jongg.
    Four chows (your #3) is perfectly fine - depending on what tiles you have for the pair, you might have what's called "pin woo" or "chicken hand." Most Chinese variants, including Hong Kong rules. Edit: 4 chows might not give you enough points if you're playing a variant with a minimum points requirement, like MCR - depending on what the numbers are.
    No chows (your #1) sounds like Shenzhen style.
    So: which Chinese variant do you play? Can you tell me the title of a book you use as your guide? Or a website URL? Edit: if you are reading numerous books/websites, you are probably reading books/sites about different variants. Pick one variant.

    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
    Friday, April 29, 2022, 10:10 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How to play with just 3 players?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 29, 2022, 08:04:42 AM EDT, Doris C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is the correct way to play MJ to have 4 people playing do East can move for another player to keep the game going with 4
    When is it ok to play with 3 players
    If players want to only play with 3 dors that change the game.
    Sent from my iPhone

    It's actually pretty simple to play with just 3, Doris. Build 4 walls as usual. Deal to the 3 players (do not deal to the empty seat). Skip the Charleston and play as usual. FAQ 13-A.
    It's OK to play with 3, anytime you don't have 4.
    It doesn't change the game very much - you get more picks from the wall, so you may have fewer wall games.
    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
    Friday, April 29, 2022, 8:35 am
    Rochester, New York, USA



    Looking for a cute article from a few years ago

    On Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 01:03:27 PM EDT, Sherry M wrote:
    Things that are heard while playing Mah Jongg
    Hi Tom,
    Several years ago there was a cute article circulating which listed all the things people say while playing Maj. Like, who's turn is it, are there any jokers in this set... I remember this list having at least 50 things.
    I've been looking for this article, but can't find it. Please send a copy of this to me if you do have it.
    Thank you,
    Sherry

    囧 Sorry, Sherry, I don't recall seeing that or collecting it. Maybe another reader will have a lead for us.
    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
    April 27, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Slow players and the problems they cause

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 06:58:06 PM EDT, Sandra H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    1. Is there a time limit during play for a player to take up time trying to decide if or not to call a tile or rearrange her her game strategy while 3 other players are waiting..
    Its definitely bad manners- does any rule address this slow-down of play?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 07:06:01 PM EDT, Sandra H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Player 1, calls a tile for a MahJongg
    Player 2, is slower studying their hand and then call the tile for MahJongg after #1’s call.
    Winner is:?? first one to call or
    the next person in turn -regardless of time between 1-2 of who called first?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Sandra!

    No, there's no rule. I wrote about slow players in column 375. Maybe that will help. But probably not.

    The player next in line "is entitled to" the claim, except when another player has begun to expose their tiles. Rule 13.b. on page 20 of the official rulebook. Look it up!


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, 2018, and again in 2020.
    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 for every player to have and read.

    (If you don't have the rulebook, you can read FAQ 19-H.)
    I'd love to hear how this transpired with your slow player. How did it go? One person said "mahj," then waited while the slow player did nothing? Or she put up some tiles, and then the other said, "No, I'm next in line, you gotta give me time to decide"? Or one person said "mahj," then the slow player said "wait"? Because if the latter, I'd be like, "no, I don't have to wait," and I'd put my tiles up, ending the impasse. There is no "wait" rule in mah-jongg. When it's your turn, I have to wait for you to make your play, but I don't have to wait for you to make my own play to win. Put up or shut up, right now.

    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
    Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 8pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Frequently-Asked Question 19-BU

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 12:40:15 PM EDT, joann f wrote:
    Hi Mr. Sloper,
    Do you know why the April 1st date is used for issuing the National Mah Jongg League card every year?
    Thanks
    Joann F

    囧 No, I don't, Joann. Sorry!
    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
    Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 12:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She thought she was East when she discarded.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, April 25, 2022, 07:30:06 PM EDT, crzymom2000 wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If a player mistakenly throws out a tile thinking they are East. Then picks her tile back up so east can throw. Is the first player dead?
    Thank you!
    Andrea
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Andrea! Once a player has discarded, the discard cannot be taken back. "Down is dead." Words to live by, I mean not live by. It's rule 7 on page 19 of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the National Mah Jongg League.


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, 2018, and again in 2020.
    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.

    (Actually, the League says "down is down," but I was taught "dead".) Since the player was not the dealer, she was holding only 13 tiles when she discarded, so she now has too few tiles, and you know what that means.
    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
    Monday April 25, 2022 8:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 17

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, April 24, 2022, 11:30:28 AM EDT, michael f wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2022 card, in the consecutive column, second hand down it says :
    FFF 1111 FFF 2222
    Regarding the flowers there are a total of 6, but they’re separated for the hand. Do you put down 3 flowers at one time and another 3 at another turn? Or do you put all 6 down at one time?
    Thank you
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Michael!
    The League clearly intends those to be two separate pungs of flowers, not a sextet, since they are separated by a kong of numbers. I'll add this to FAQ 16, the list of frequently asked 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
    Sunday, April 24, 2022, 12:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption? (redux)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 22, 2022, 07:55:36 PM EDT, Kala P wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    There were 7 tiles left in the hot wall. There were four exposed 6 cracks with a joker for the 4th tile. The person on the left laughingly threw a 6 crack as she thought the game was over. Can the person on her right who had the exposed 6 cracks redeem the 6 crack and replace it for the joker for “Maj”? I hope my question is understandable.
    Thank you
    Kala
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Kala!
    I don't know your hot wall rules, but your question has nothing to do with wall length. As I told james on April 14 (below), a discarded redeemable tile is a dead tile, for the purposes of redemption. Nobody is allowed to call a discard and then use it to redeem a joker, ever (no matter the length of the wall, and no matter what table rules hold sway). See FAQ 19-G.
    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
    4/22/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Redeeming jokers from dead hands, part 5

    On Friday, April 22, 2022, 12:25:21 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A Redeeming jokers from dead hands, part 3 (FAQ 19-P)
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom.
    Regarding Donna’s great catch on exchanging Jokers from an erroneous exposure for a concealed hand. The back middle pane of the 2020 card says “JOKERS may be exchanged from any and all exposures that were made before the hand was declared “dead”." This is true, except for the concealed hand exposure. I have made a notation on the back of my card to remind me of this, others may want to do the same, especially if they do not have easy access to Mah Jongg Made Easy. Thanks as always for your informative columns.
    Sue Z

    Good idea, Sue!

    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
    4/22/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Redeeming jokers from dead hands, part 4 (FAQ 19-P)
    On Wednesday, April 20, 2022, 08:39:24 AM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    OK tks. Good to know


    Redeeming jokers from dead hands, part 3 (FAQ 19-P)

    On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 10:07:23 PM EDT, Donna E wrote:
    Redeeming Jokers
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom hi!
    In your recent question about redeeming jokers -
    Mah Jongg Made Easy p. 24 #21
    'No jokers exposed prior to a Concealed hand being declared “dead” are redeemable, since they were part of an incorrect exposure.'
    However, I’m sure many people have redeemed those jokers from the exposures since they 'might not have known' it was a concealed hand or they did it 'on purpose' and then said the hand was dead on a further turn.
    Thank you for all of your great columns and info!
    Donna E

    Good catch, Donna! I've amended FAQ 19-P and the RDWW errata accordingly. And I'll let Lou know of the correction.
    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
    Wednesday, April 20, 2022, 8:30 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a player who's called dead for too many/few tiles deny the challenge?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 07:36:13 PM EDT, Randy L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom, the answer to this question seems a no-brainer to me but one player in our group (American/western mahjongg) was quite adamant that your explanation in your book regarding being called dead and continuing to play despite being dead due to tile count, still allows that player to continue till the end of the game, refusing to accept the death. I understand this denial is allowed with death calls over someone claiming you don’t have a proper hand due to your exposures etc, but when you have too few or too many tiles, it seems to me its game over for that person and they do not get to deny the challenge and hang in till the end of the game. They are dead with no way for this hand to be valid at the end. But the argument is that you state in your book on page 64, “she may deny her hand is dead, and continue playing, no explanation need be provided”. And she claims you make no exception in your list to the obvious tile count being a reason for not continuing till the end. This player is a very good player and was adamant she could choose to argue she’s entitled to play till the end even with too few or too many tiles. Please settle this. Thanks.

    Very interesting question, Randy!
    It comes down to a reasonable interpretation of the intent of the rule versus exacting interpretation of the way one author states the rule. And also majority rule comes into play.
    The rule clearly is intended to govern situations in which it can be argued that the hand can be won. In the case of too many or too few tiles, it cannot be so argued. It's clear to everyone at the table that the hand cannot be won, and since there is a challenge on the table, the shorthanded/longhanded player must stop playing. It's not like the player can say "it's worth it to me to pay you 50¢ if I can keep playing." (The challengee who denies the challenge wrongly pays 50¢ to the challenger at the end of the hand.) That's not a reasonable option once it's clear to the three others that the hand is too short or too long.

    That rule is stated, albeit in not so many words, in Mah Jongg Made Easy, but I didn't state it clearly enough in The Red Dragon & The West Wind. Do you have the RDWW errata? I'll amend rule 103 on p. 64, changing it to: "If challenged for incorrect exposure, No Such Hand, Unwinnable, or Exposed Concealed Hand, the challenged player (challengee) has two possible choices of action:"

    I'll also add bullet c. "If challenged for wrong tile count or rule violation, the challenge may not be refuted."

    On page 101, I'm changing the third paragraph to: "If challenged for incorrect exposure, No Such Hand, Unwinnable, or Exposed Concealed Hand, the challengee must respond, either accepting or refuting the challenge. The challengee who denies the challenge does so without explaining what hand they are making. Then the game continues, either with or without that player, depending on the response to the challenge. If challenged for wrong tile count or rule violation, the challenge may not be refuted." I'll upload a new errata after posting this to the bulletin board.

    I can see how your friend strictly interpreted the rule, if she was basing her reasoning on the wording in my book. This new language should fix it. Tell your friend I'm sorry for making her wrong by my unclear wording.

    Let's see what they say in the official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy, just for the fun of it. Page 20, rule 14: "If an incorrect exposure is made, the hand may be declared "dead" by any of the other three players. Bettor must remain silent. If the exposure goes unnoticed, the erring player should not announce it and continues to play. Of course, Mah Jongg cannot be made." This statement of the rule specifies "incorrect exposure," so does not apply to wrong tile counts. The rules about the challengee refuting the challenge (FAQ 19-AB) are not stated in the rulebook, but were rather issued in yearly bulletins in 2001, 2005, and 2008 (and possibly others later, not listed because nothing new was stated subsequent to 2008). That's one reason to use my book (together with the errata); all the rules are in one place.

    If your friend wants to question the rule with the League, she should send it in writing, and be patient - this is their busiest time of year.

    By the way, American rules come from the NMJL, but Western rules are an Asian variant, played in other English-speaking countries; England, Australia, India... But anyway. I hope this clears up the matter. The League's rulebook takes precedence, and I'm fixing my book in the errata.
    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
    Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 10:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Redeeming jokers from dead hands, part 2 (FAQ 19-P)

    On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 12:57:58 PM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    CLARIFYING MY MJ QUESTION
    I hope this helps to clarify my earlier question about redeeming a joker:
    A player had one exposure with a joker. Nobody called her dead - we didn't realize she was playing a concealed hand until she made a second exposure. We then realized she was playing a concealed hand. Can the joker from the first exposure be redeemed now that we realize it was a closed hand?

    Yes, that clarifies it, Lou. The first exposure was ambiguous, therefore a legal exposure. The second exposure unambiguously made the hand dead. That second exposure needed to be returned to the sloping front of the rack. The remaining exposure stays atop the rack, where its jokers are still available for redemption.* This is explained in 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
    Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 1:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * See 4/20 email from Donna E, above. The rule is that both exposures must be withdrawn. - Tom


    Redeeming jokers from dead hands

    On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 10:38:54 AM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    MJ QUESTION
    I know that exposed jokers are redeemable before the hand was declared dead. But can they be redeemed before the hand was declared dead if it was a concealed hand?
    Lou

    I'm gonna need more information, Lou. Are we talking about an ambiguous exposure? One that nobody can tell until later (after another exposure is made) that the hand is supposed to be concealed? Or an unambiguous exposure - one that is discernible to be from a hand that's supposed to be concealed, but nobody has yet said anything? Can you paint a clearer example for me?
    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
    Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 11:20 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Where the are my cards??

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, April 18, 2022, 11:48:14 AM EDT, Suzie and Chip T wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I ordered 8 cards on Feb 8. They haven't arrived. My member number is . My order no. Is . My cell is . I tried calling but no one picked up the phone and there's no way to leave a message. Suzanne T

    囧 I can't help you, Suzanne. I'm not the League. I suppose you'll have to keep trying, and/or have a bit more patience.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the cards be with you soon.
    Tom Sloper
    April 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is it legal to make a set with all jokers?

    On Saturday, April 16, 2022, 12:28:12 PM EDT, Doris F wrote:
    Question
    Dear Tom,
    I was going for a hand of all one suit and 4 matching dragons. I was close with most of the dots and 3 jokers. An opponent called for a discarded soap and displayed all four soaps. Play continued. If I had drawn another joker, could I have called Mah Jong using 4 jokers for the soaps? Thanks in advance for your help.
    Doris F

    Hi, Doris. Yes, that's perfectly legal. FAQ 19-L.
    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
    Saturday, April 16, 2022, 1:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption?

    On Thursday, April 14, 2022, 02:16:49 PM EDT, <james wrote:
    Mah Jongg Question
    A player has 2 7 bams and 2 Jokers exposed on his tray.
    Another player discards a 7 bam rather than do the Joker exchange.
    The person with the exposed bams called the 7 bam, replaced her joker, used it in another set on his rack and called Mah Jongg.
    Is this legal?
    Jim

    Jim, You know a discarded joker is a dead joker. And a discarded redeemable tile is a dead tile, for the purposes of redemption. If someone can claim the discarded redeemable tile to make a set, that's different. See FAQ 19-G.
    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
    Thursday, April 14, 2022, 2:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Rule 4

    On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 08:46:30 PM EDT, dnussear wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Rule 4 on back of card addresses a tile being called for mahj by 2 players,
    I was next in line but other person hurrying took tile and exposed her tiles.
    I have been playingng 8 yrs and we always let next person have the mahj.
    Help
    Sent from my Galaxy

    囧 Hi, Deanna. I'm sorry, but I don't know what I can help you with. Maybe you ought to contact the League? Their contact information is on the 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
    Thursday, April 14, 2022, 12:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Approximate age and value of my set

    On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 04:36:20 PM EDT, peggyja wrote:
    approximate age and value of my mah jongg set
    I hope I have met all of your criteria to have my mah jongg set aged and valued. From your column it seems my set may be circa 1946, as it has 16 Flowers and no Jokers.
    I bought the set used from a woman about my age (74) and the set was her mother’s. That is all I know of its history, other than the case is very well marked “Metro” on the inside of the back. The case is missing one latch but is in otherwise good condition.
    There are 152 tiles, 18 Flowers, no Jokers, a Wind Indicator, chips, dice and 5 burgundy Bakelite racks.
    All suit sets are complete, with 4 of each of numbers 1-9 in each suit, 4 of each red, green and white dragons and 4 of each North, East, West and South winds. It does look like one of the 2 Dots may have been replaced, as it is a bit lighter than the rest of the set. Also, there are 5 #1 Flowers and only 3 #3 Flowers, so that, too, must have been a replacement. The paint is in good condition, as you can see. The case is in fairly good condition as well, though it is missing a latch.
    The dimensions of one tile is as follows: 1.5” tall, 7/8” wide, ½” thick. Sharp edges, not rounded.
    Thank you in advance…
    Peggy A
    “Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”
    …Edward Abbey

    Hi, Peggy!
    As for its age, it could be anytime in the 40s or 50s. Just so you know, I am not an expert on manufacturers - I know nothing about Metro.
    As for its value, this will be a very rough guess, since I have to judge condition by the photos alone. You used the word "good" in the ordinary sense, not the grading sense as outlined in FAQ 7-H. That off-color 2D tile is a real shame - it affects the playability/utility of the set. Anybody can tell that that off-color tile in the wall is a 2D. The case is in "poor" to "fair" condition (definitely not "fairly good"), since it's missing a latch, the metal fittings are all oxidized, and it has other exterior condition issues I could see in your photos. I don't know what condition the racks are in (if the brass is shiny or what). Someone who buys your set would have to buy a new case, and would want to try to find a color-matched tile to replace the off-color 2D, so its value is reduced. Probably less than $100, but your mileage might vary, especially if you replace the case or fix its flaws.

    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
    Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 11:59 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My wife and I are debating how many fan, part 4

    On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 11:18:07 AM EDT, Ray Heaton wrote:
    My wife and I are debating how many fan, parts 1 and 2 [April 6, below]
    Hi Tom, it's been a long time since corresponding, hope all is well!
    I was just reading Bob's messages and your response regarding ...how many fan... I think there is a fan missing from the calculation.
    The hand is a 3 fan hand as you said, doubled for being East, doubled for self draw, doubled again for drawing the last tile from the wall, so 6 fan really.
    Depending on how this is interpreted into scoring points, it could be 8 base points for the 3 fan hand, doubled three times making 64 points from each player.
    Regards,
    Ray

    Thanks, Ray. You put together what Bob had written in his first post with what he wrote in his second. I wasn't trying to add up his wife's entire score for him - I was just helping him understand that her hand was nowhere near KFC, since he was unclear on the "clean" concept.
    Confession: I've not mastered Hong Kong scoring. 3 fan for clean, 1 fan for self-pick, Amy Lo says 2 fan for last tile (FAQ 17 was based on the Yahoo game, which is gone now; it says 1 fan for last tile, which agrees with Perlmen & Chan). Adding them, that's either 5 or 6 fan. As I understood it, there are several different payment schemes (Amy Lo, page 44; P&C, page 56). I have heard of "dealer collects double" rules in some variants, but Amy Lo has no such rule I could find, and Perlmen & Chan is hard to follow (maybe it's in there somewhere), and it's not in FAQ 17 (do I need to fix that?). Anyway, as I said before, all I was trying to do was clear up the "chicken vs. clean" question for Bob. Thanks again. It's great to hear from you!
    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
    Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 12:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 16

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, April 11, 2022, 05:26:33 PM EDT, Thomas L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    On the 2022 card, Winds and Dragons -2nd one- , do the 4 green, 3 red have to be those colors exact colors or could it be 3 green and 4 red (or soaps too) ? More importantly do the Dragon colors never matter except if it is explicitly stated as it was on one hand on the '21 card. As a one year "newbie" , I've always assumed the colors for dragons (unlike the number colors) were specific.

    Regarding to your response to the 2022 46-without-a-space question, I've been wondering that, since there is no space if it is some sort of "pair" and would have to follow those rules. My question would be, how do you handle that combination? If I had a 4, could I call a 6 and then, would I have to expose or could I only do that for a MJ? Or could I leave it on my rack?
    Thanks!
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Thomas! You wrote:

    On the 2022 card, Winds and Dragons -2nd one- , do the 4 green, 3 red have to be those colors exact colors or could it be 3 green and 4 red (or soaps too) ?
    As I told Sue on April 4 (below), green and red do NOT mean bams and craks. Think of red as "suit 1," green as "suit 2," and navy blue as "suit 3 and suitless." It's explained on the back of the card and in FAQ 19-BY.

    Regarding to your response to the 2022 46-without-a-space question, I've been wondering that, since there is no space if it is some sort of "pair" and would have to follow those rules.
    You know that jokers may only be used in sets of like tiles of three or more, NEVER in singles or pairs. Just the same, you can only call a discard for sets of like tiles of three or more. Read 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
    Monday, April 11, 2022, 10:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 3-person Charleston

    On Sunday, April 10, 2022, 01:08:54 PM EDT, Erika G wrote:
    3 person mahjongg
    when i play a 3 person mahjongg with friends, one friend always makes an extra row of 3 tiles for each charleston so that on each charleston a person can pick up unused tiles. I sY THIS IS UNFAIR BC IT GIVES THE "ACROSS" PERSON AND EXTRA 3 UNPASSED TILES, POSSIBLY INCLUDING A JOKER. WHAT SAY YOU?

    I say read these:

  • FAQ 13-A describes the League's rules on 3-person play.
  • Column 532 describes various ways 3 people do a Charleston.
  • FAQ 14 describes the three rules on table rules.

    It's actually fine to play without a Charleston with 3 players, but if the other 2 players want to do it their way, you don't have much choice. You're outnumbered; better go with the flow.
    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
    Sunday, April 10, 2022, 2:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 15

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, April 10, 2022, 09:33:28 AM EDT, Jessie R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Quints #3. 11 22, or 1122( as on card)
    Sent from my iPad

    What difference does it make, Jessie? It's two pairs, whether there's a space between them or not. Spaces on the card have no significance whatsoever.
    If you have any more questions about the 2022 card, please check FAQ 16 first, before you email me.
    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
    Sunday, April 10, 2022 10:05 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    British rules questions

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, April 9, 2022, 04:38:42 PM EDT, Stanley S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    The version I am referring to is Chinese (British rules)
    My question is about kongs.
    Can a winning hand consist of 1,2,3 or 4 kongs, with the rest pungs or chows (and of course a pair)
    Clearly, 4 kongs and a pair consists of 18 tiles,
    But aren’t hands restricted to 13 titles?
    Or is it that a (4 tile) kong is only counted as 3 tiles.
    The other alternative it would seem is that you can win with either 3 Kongs or 4 pungs/chows.

    Hi, Stanley! You wrote:

    Can a winning hand consist of 1,2,3 or 4 kongs, with the rest pungs or chows (and of course a pair)
    Yes. But as for chows, most British players permit no more than one chow in an ordinary hand.

    Clearly, 4 kongs and a pair consists of 18 tiles,
    Yes, well, when you glorify a pung to a kong, you have to take a replacement tile from the back end of the wall, because now you've messed up the tile count in your hand. You really have 15 but you can just think of it as 14. A kong is equivalent to a pung, for tile count purposes.

    But aren’t hands restricted to 13 titles?
    Fourteen, actually. Every time it's your turn you bring a 14th tile into the hand. There's no way to win with only 13 tiles, so you can only win when you're holding 14.

    Or is it that a (4 tile) kong is only counted as 3 tiles.
    It's probably best if you regard them that way. This is all explained in FAQ 20-D. Also in FAQ 20, down below the FAQ, there are several reader Q&As from this bulletin board, including some asking about kongs. Those should help you (different folks asked the same question in different ways, and got the answer in different ways).

    The other alternative it would seem is that you can win with either 3 Kongs or 4 pungs/chows.
    Yeah, well, kongs do mess that idea up. What book do you use? I recommend Thompson & Maloney's The Game of Mah Jong Illustrated, or Mah Jong, Anyone? by Strauser & Evans & me

    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
    Saturday, April 9, 2022, 5:15 pm Eastern
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 14

    On Saturday, April 9, 2022, 03:52:53 PM EDT, Myra D wrote:
    Question about Quint Hand
    The first hand under Quints is all one color. Do the dragons have to be in the same suit as the numbers used in the hand?
    The hand is:
    DDDD NNNN 11111
    Thanks

    Hi, Myra!
    That hand can be made in one or two suits. I confirmed that with the League. If you have any more questions about the 2022 card, please check FAQ 16 first, before you email me. And make sure when you make that hand that you use five dragons. Dragon quints are rarely seen on the 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
    Saturday April 9, 2022, 4:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    NMJL card history question, part 2

    Re: Hello
    On Saturday, April 9, 2022, 02:03:35 PM EDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Thanks Tom!
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    You're welcome, Debbie!


    NMJL card history question

    On Saturday, April 9, 2022, 09:46:52 AM EDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Hello
    Hi Tom!
    I hope this email finds you well. We haven't touched base in a while so I hope everything is going well on your end. If I remember correctly, are you caring for your elderly mom?
    I did check your page to see if I could find this fact but could not so I'm going to ask away. If it is already answered please point me to the page. What year did the Singles and Pairs Category of all Concealed hands change from the previous Category name of No Joker Hands where there were actually some Exposed hands in that Category.
    Thanks for letting me know. I've scoured google and couldn't find this fact!
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    Hi, Debbie. I'm not surprised this info wasn't findable via Google. I doubt that much info on the NMJL card history is findable online.
    Checking my files, I have a black-and-white photocopy of the 1993 card and the 1995 card ("1993-1994" and "1995-1996" respectively). So there's a gap - I don't have any info on the 1994 card. This is significant only because that bottom-right section is called "NO JOKER HANDS" on the 1993 card, and it's called "*SINGLES & PAIRS - NO BONUS" on the 1995 card. So it's possible that the change could have happened on the 1994 card.
    However, on the 1995 card, at upper left corner, is this printed note:

      IMPORTANT CHANGE: WHEN A PLAYER DECLARES MAH JONGG ON ANY HAND, CONCEALED OR EXPOSED, AND NO JOKERS ARE PART OF THE HAND, (EXCHANGED JOKERS FROM AN EXPOSURE CAN MAKE THE HAND JOKERLESS), A BONUS IS GIVEN. See Back of Card.

    On the back of the card, after the description of who pays double, we find:

      BONUS: WHEN A PLAYER DECLARES MAH JONGG AND NO JOKERS ARE PART OF THE HAND A BONUS IS GIVEN: DOUBLE VALUE.
      *EXCEPTION: SINGLES & PAIRS GROUP - NO BONUS.

    It seems likely that the change you're asking about occurred on the 1995 card, then. But it's possible that something changed on the 1994 card and the wording could have been carried over for another year. Most likely, the change occurred on the 1995 card. If a reader has a copy of the 1994 card, maybe they can offer additional insight.

    Edit, 11:20 am: Found this from a document shared by James on March 3:

      1994-95: Modern version of game begins: A hand made without Jokers pays double, except for Singles and Pairs category. Rules clarifies that there can be 4X paid by discarder of final MJ tile in jokerless hand
      (Info from mahjonggmentor.com)

    Oh. And I live near my mom but I don't know if that qualifies as "caring for" exactly.
    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
    Saturday, April 9, 2022, 11:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Some of us are going nuclear about the atomic hand

    On Friday, April 8, 2022, 09:00:43 PM EDT, Gay P wrote:
    Atomic hand in Mah-Jongg
    We have been playing an atomic hand in which is all pairs (any suites) , no jokers can be used and you can not call a tile unless it is to Mah-Jongg. I know this type of hand is not shown on any of the play cards. It it still an acceptable hand to play otherwise? Some people are protesting this hand & want to discontinue playing the atomic hand. However, i love the option the atomic hand gives. Please advise!
    Regards,
    Gay P

    Hi, Gay!
    I'm curious about the numbers involved. You say "some people" are protesting the use of the atomic hand. That makes me wonder if you are talking about a 4-player table, or a multi-table scenario like a country club or senior center environment. You've tried taking a vote, and you can't reach a majority one way or the other? I mean, if it's a 4-player table, and 2 people don't want to play Atomic, then that's a problem*. If it's a 5-player table and 2 people don't want to play Atomic, that's just too bad for those two (majority rules). Maybe the rules on table rules will help you figure out your problem? 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
    Friday, April 8, 2022, 9:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * One way of looking at it is, if you don't have a majority supporting the use of the Atomic table rule, then the official rules are probaly the better way to go. - Tom


    Subscribe me

    On Friday, April 8, 2022, 09:56:28 AM EDT, Vicki S wrote:
    Subscribe
    Hi Tom,
    Your column is so fun. Would you be so kind as to make me a subscriber?
    Thanks so much,
    Vicki in Lyme NH

    囧 Maybe someday, Vicki, if and when I set up for subscriptions. At present I have not researched how to do that. Sorry! 囧
    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
    Friday, April 8, 2022, 11:10 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I use a joker in a GGGG or RRRR?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 8, 2022, 08:00:51 AM EDT, Anne R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the 2022 sec can a joker be used in the dragon section for. R or G dragon
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Anne! The back of the card states that jokers may be used in any pung, kong, quint, or sextet.
    The terms "pung" and "kong" and "quint" and "sextet" are also defined on the back of the card as 3 like tiles, 4 like tiles, 5 like tiles, and 6 like tiles respectively.

    For future questions about the 2022 card, please check the back of the card and FAQ 16 first, before emailing me.
    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
    Friday, April 8, 2022, 8:45 am
    Rochester, New York, USA

    The 2022 card, part 13


    Am I dead if I put the discard in my hand? (FAQ 19-K)

    On Thursday, April 7, 2022, 12:25:43 PM EDT, Lori S wrote:
    American Mah Jongg Racking Question
    Dear Tom,
    I love your site and have made many trips to visit it to help our Mah Jongg group learn more. Three of us recently attended our first tournament at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas hosted by Mah Jongg Fever. This came up at the tournament with different outcomes and only after going home comparing stories are we realizing we have a question of which outcome is correct. I have not seen the question on your site so if I have missed it please forgive me. It has to do with calling exposures and racking them.

    In one game I was in a player called for a discard and put it in her rack. East called her dead. A few more turns later another player did the same thing and also dead. We continued with the two of us until the end. Both players called exposures were for Mah Jongg and they had nothing exposed when they went dead. A few tables later this happened again and the player was dead. In that case, I don't know if it was the winning Mah Jongg tile as it was thrown in and we played another game.

    My friend also had this happen at another table. A player called that player dead. The dead player said it was allowed since it was for Mah Jongg and another player agreed so they moved on with that assumption that it was correct.

    So the question is: No exposures called can ever be placed IN your rack and must be ON your rack, but this rule is not valid if it is for Mah Jongg? In any case, it seems like a bad practice to rack an exposure on occasion, and best to keep the same method so you don't mess it up for yourself.

    Thanks for your time and I will wait to see your answer posted to your site.
    Lori

    Hi, Lori!
    League rules and tournament rules don't always agree. See FAQ 19-K. Personally, I would never put any discard into the hand rather than atop the rack, since I've played internationally and that's a strict no-no in Asian variants. But the League takes a more lenient stance.
    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
    Thursday, April 7, 2022, 12:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My wife and I are debating how many fan, part 3

    On Thursday, April 7, 2022, 10:42:10 AM EDT, bob m wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thanks Tom,
    I’m new to the game, obviously. My wife grew up in HK so she’s my only “book” for now.

    Which book do you recommend?
    Thanks
    Sent from my iPhone

    Perlmen & Chan is good, but Amy Lo is an easier read. See FAQ 3. But you need to realize that there can be differences between the way your wife played and the books (and differences between the books). You should make note of any differences and document them (write in the margins). There's also my FAQ 17. In the end you'll probably need to just accept your wife's 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
    Thursday, April 7, 2022, 10:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My wife and I are debating how many fan, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 10:53:33 AM EDT, bob m wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    My wife, Alice claimed 3 fan for having all one suit except the eyes plus 1 fan for self draw. Her claim was 32 points.
    My argument was that the 1 pong within the single suit was not an honor suit so regardless that she had all one suit plus the eyes of wind she was only entitled to 1 fan for self draw and zero for the chicken having 1 wrong flower.

    Bob, it sounds like you're asking about Hong Kong rules, not MCR as I originally assumed.
    Your wife is right. The hand is all bams (just one suit), with some winds included, so it's "semipure" or "clean," which is 3 fan all by itself. See FAQ 17 for explanations of the various fan in HKOS.
    Just curious: what book or website are you using as your scoring guide?
    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
    Wednesday, April 2, 2022, 11:30 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I call a discard if I'm waiting for a single or a pair for mah-jongg?

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 09:13:50 AM EDT, barbara b wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: On the new 2022 card on 246 888 246 888 can I pick up discard 2, 4 or 6 to make mahjongg?
    Virus-free. www.avast.com

    Yes, Barbara. For mah-jongg, the only discard you cannot call is a joker. See FAQ 19-E3.
    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
    Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 9:30 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA

    The 2022 card, part 12


    My wife and I are debating how many fan.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 01:17:41 AM EDT, bob m wrote:
    Hi,
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    My wife and I are debating how many fan. She had this mahjong from east seat south round. She self drew the last tile from the wall.
    She claims
    Thanks

    What does she claim, Bob? I'd love to hear what debate I'm to judge. Good morning, by the way.
    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
    Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 7:25 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why did the computer call me dead, part 3

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 05:20:47 PM EDT, Allyn L wrote:
    I love it when other people besides me have brain farts.
    Allyn

    :o)


    Why did the computer call me dead, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 01:21:45 PM EDT, Wendy R wrote:
    Thank you.

    You're welcome, Wendy!
    Tom


    Why did the computer call me dead?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 12:42:59 PM EDT, Wendy R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I was playing online with the 2022 card - 5th one down under consecutive #’s. I called for and exposed (3)1 bams but when I called the 3rd 2 bam it said my hand was dead because it was a concealed hand. What am I missing?
    Thank you.
    Wendy R

    Hi, Wendy!
    You were using the 2022 card, but was the computer? When I go to RMJ, I see that it's still set to 2021.

    If you're sure you had the game set on 2022, and you still have a question about Real Mah Jongg, I suggest you ask the owners of Real Mah Jongg your support question. 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
    Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 1:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 11

    On Monday, April 4, 2022, 07:04:09 PM EDT, Sue G wrote:
    2022 Mahj Card Question
    Hand #4 under Winds and Dragons.... it states "any like odd or even
    number" and shows the numbers as bams and craks. It is bams and craks
    ONLY... or should the card have said "any like odd or even number, any 2
    suits)? Most other hands will state the number of suits needed. I think
    it's every confusing when you look at a hand (E.g. the concealed hand
    under Consecutive Run -- which states any two suits), but similar
    wording is NOT used for hand #4 under Winds and Dragons. I am assuming
    it's ANY TWO SUITS for the like numbers in the Winds hand... but I'm
    sure other people will have other opinions and say "it's bams and craks
    ONLY." Please clarify!
    Sue G
    Wausau WI

    Hi, Sue! You wrote:

    Hand #4 under Winds and Dragons.... it states "any like odd or even
    number" and shows the numbers as bams and craks.
    No, it doesn't! It shows the numbers in green and red, but that does NOT mean bams and craks. Read the back of the card and FAQ 19-BY.

    I am assuming
    it's ANY TWO SUITS for the like numbers in the Winds hand... but I'm
    sure other people will have other opinions and say "it's bams and craks
    ONLY." Please clarify!
    You assume correctly. I'm adding this to FAQ 16 by way of clarifying.

    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
    April 4, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 10

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, April 4, 2022, 10:21:34 AM EDT, Marikay H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2022 card under quints, third row, there is no space between the 1122. Does that mean it is not two pairs and you can use a joker?
    Thanks,
    Marikay
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Marikay! The back of the card states that jokers may be used only in a pung, kong, quint, or sextet.
    The terms "pung" and "kong" and "quint" and "sextet" are also defined on the back of the card. "1122" is not four like tiles, so it is not a kong. (It's also not a pung, quint, or sextet.) Look for the word "NEVER" in big bold capital letters on the back of the card (circled).

    For future questions about the 2022 card, please check the back of the card and FAQ 16 (new) before emailing me.
    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
    Monday, April 4, 2022, 12:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Support for Sloperama.com

    On Monday, April 4, 2022, 08:43:58 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Apr 4, 2022 05:43:47 PDT
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer name Evelyn H
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    Thank you so much, Evelyn! I really appreciate the 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
    April 4, 2022, 12:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 9

    On Sunday, April 3, 2022, 02:46:44 PM EDT, Doris F wrote:
    2022 card
    On the new card, under 2022, the last hand, do the losers pay double even though no jokers are allowed be used?

    No. It's clearly impossible to use jokers. There's no bonus for not doing something you can't do anyway. The points are already built into the hand's score.
    For future questions about the 2022 card, please check FAQ 16 (new) before emailing me.
    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
    Sunday, April 3, 2022, 5:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Picked and looked but someone called for the live discard...

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, April 3, 2022, 12:37:48 PM EDT, Lynn K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When a tile has been looked at but not racked and another player calls for the previous discard, the tile goes back on the wall. (From FAQ, Tuesday, March 15, 2002, 9:11:25). Does it go to its previous position as the next tile to be picked by the next player? We have one player who sticks it in a random place in the wall when it has to go back.
    Your help is greatly appreciated. You must get exasperated or have extreme patience with our questions.
    Thanks,
    Lynn K.

    It goes right back where it came from, Lynn. See FAQ 19-AT. Nobody messes with the arrangement of tiles in the wall.
    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
    Sunday, April 3, 2022, 1:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 8

    2022 National Mah Jongg League Card - Quint Hand
    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 09:28:09 PM EDT, Modern Mahjong wrote:
    Hello Tom,
    We appreciate your new Frequently Asked Questions for the 2022 Card on Sloperama.com.
    We had a question posed in our group, Facebook.com/groups/MahjongCommunity, about your explanation of one of the quint hands.
    For the Quint with Any Wind, Any Number and Any Dragon, we see that the hand is in one color. We understand that without a parenthesis, it would mean that the suit and dragon would have to match. However, with parentheses including any number and any dragon, doesn't the use of the word any three times override the single color of the hand?
    You had a similar discussion on Sloperama.com about a hand in two colors but we didn't see one discussing a hand in one color.
    For the 2004 FAQ and in other areas of Sloperama, you explained:
    The color-coding on the card cannot say it all in every case. So when the color-coding isn't sufficient to explain the requirements of a particular hand, the card designer writes a parenthetical to give more information. Sometimes some folks might think that there is a conflict between the parenthetical and the color-coding (that the color-coding conflicts with what it says in the parentheses). In such cases, you have to consider the parenthetical as being the final word. Therefore "Any suit" means just that: "ANY SUIT."
    We are looking forward to your reply.
    Peace Love Mahjong,
    Dara and Donna

    Yes, Dara and Donna, I needed that reminder of what I'd written previously! This principle is stated in FAQ 19-J as well as 2004's FAQ 16. So I'm changing 2022's FAQ 16 to go along with precedent. Note, though, that that's precedent as stated by me, not by the League. I'll check with the League to be sure.
    Update: the League confirms. Quints #1 can be made in one or two suits.
    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
    April 2, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Strongest A.I.

    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 06:46:30 PM EDT, Jerry wrote:
    mahjongg ai
    Hi Tom. Thanks so much for your website. I can understand it is a
    labor of love to collect so much information about mahjongg.
    I have played some computer mahjongg games over the years since about 25
    years ago, and my recollection was that the computer AIs are decent but
    never overwhelming. Considering your extensive history with mahjongg
    and as a computer game developer, I would guess that you have tried a
    wide variety of mahjongg software, and I am curious to hear your opinion
    about the relative strengths of various software. I guess ultimately,
    which software had the strongest level of play?

    Hi, Jerry!
    I'm not the greatest player around (I have not won any tournaments), but I have not found any A.I. to be "overwhelming." I don't think I'd enjoy that. I like the different bots' play styles in the Nintendo Switch version of Japanese Mah-jongg. I found the A.I. opponents in Hong Kong Mahjong to be pretty daunting, but I was just learning mah-jongg back then. Which game do you think has the strongest A.I.?
    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
    April 2, 2022, 6:54 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    FAQ 16

    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 06:20:10 PM EDT, Jeanne in NC wrote:
    MJ FAQ 16
    Hi Tom
    Thank you for posting https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/2022.html so quickly!!! It’s very helpful.
    For this particular hand (2022 #4), did you mean (2022 #3)?
    FF 2022 2022 2022 (Any 3 Suits)
    (2022 #4)
    Best always, Jeanne

    Thanks, Jeanne! I fixed the label. Now it says "2022 #5" as it ought to.
    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
    April 2, 2022, 6:37 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 7

    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 05:09:34 PM EDT, Sally C wrote:
    question on 2022 card
    On the first line of Quints does the Dragons have to be
    the same suit as the number? Print is all black which
    means one suit however it does say Any Dragon, Any No.
    and does not say matching
    Sally C
    Mah Jongg Instructor

    Hi, Sally. As I wrote in FAQ 16, I believe it is indeed supposed to be matching, since as it says on the back of the card, one color = one suit.*
    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
    April 2, 2022, 6:27 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * See email from Dara and Donna, above. - Tom


    The 2022 card, part 6

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 05:16:11 PM EDT, L S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Someone wrote in to ask about this hand:
    FFF 2222 FFF 2222 (Any 2 Suits - These Nos. Only). (2468 #6)
    On my card the hand is :
    FFF 2222 FFF 8888 (Any 2 Suits - These Nos. Only)
    (2468 #6)
    I think the person made a mistake.
    I scrolled through the questions but I did not see a reference to that.
    Maybe most of us just took it for granted that it was a mistake and moved on.
    Hopefully no one is looking for:
    FFF 2222 FFF 2222 (Any 2 Suits - These Nos. Only)
    (2468 #6) on their card.
    Love your website.
    Thanks,
    Leslie S

    The person has fixed it now, Leslie. Thanks.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    The Person
    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
    April 2, 2022, 6:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 5

    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 05:00:37 PM EDT, Bruce D K wrote:
    Typo in 2022 NMJL FAQ?
    2468 #6
    Pattern should be FFF 222 FFF 8888 ?
    FAQ has a second Kong of 2’s, which would be redundant with Like Numbers #1
    Thanks so much for your amazing website.
    Bruce

    Thanks, Bruce! It's fixed now, thanks to you.
    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
    April 2, 2022, 6:24 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Exposable dragon pung

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 02:40:51 PM EDT, Cloud wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I think there is a dragon ping that is not a concealed hand — odds #5
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Cloud!
    In fact, there are five hands with exposable dragon pungs on the 2022 card: 2022 #2, Consec #7, Odds #5 as you say, W-D #2, and 369 #4.
    I think you are writing in reference to this week's column about the new 2022 card. I wanted to check on what you were responding to, so I checked the column. The last sentence of the Dragon Pungs paragraph did say that you could call an opponent dead if (in addition to a dragon pung) there was a dragon pung exposed. Just now I amended that sentence to clarify that if you see "a wind pung or another dragon pung," then you can call them 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
    Saturday, April 2, 2022, 4:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 3

    2022 Mahjong card
    On Friday, April 1, 2022, 04:35:21 PM EDT, Anne M C wrote:
    Hi Tom,
    In the 2468 category on the 2022 card they have a hand with a set of 246. Can you use a joker in this set?
    Anne
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Anne! The back of the card states that jokers may be used only in a pung, kong, quint, or sextet.

    The terms "pung" and "kong" and "quint" and "sextet" are also defined on the back of the card. "246" is three non-identical tiles, so it is not a pung. (It's also not a kong, quint, or sextet.) Look for the word "NEVER" in big bold capital letters on the back of the card (circled above).
    For future questions about the 2022 card, please check the back of the card and FAQ 16 (new today) before emailing me.
    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
    Friday, April 1, 2022, 5:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is 7 pairs accepted in the Chinese variant?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 1, 2022, 09:39:12 AM EDT, Henry P wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is 7-pairs considered a mahjong in the Chinese variant? Thanks.

    Which Chinese variant, Henry? Hong Kong Old Style? New Style? Shanghai? Taiwanese? Hunan? Sichuan? MCR? Zung Jung? Fuzhou? Shenzhen? Beijing? Nanjing? Macau? See FAQ 2B if you're not sure. Some variants do and some variants don't. But then no matter which Chinese variant you play, it might be a house rule. You'll have to ask the players at the table. You really need to check the table rules when you first sit down at the table.
    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
    April 1st, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old? How much? Part 3

    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 09:16:47 PM EDT, Phil K wrote:
    Re: How old is my Maj Jong set
    Hi Tom,
    I see people selling similar Enrobed Bakelite Tile for Replacement Mahjong Jong Jongg 1940s at $15 per tile.
    Probably not an easy sale, however.
    The bone sticks are also collectible.
    Even as a Frankenstein, this entire value is greater than $15.
    The box might be old.
    Best Regards,
    Phil

    Your tiles are not enrobed. See the FAQ. The primary problem is condition. You never told me the condition of the set's pieces, so I could only base my valuation on the photos you sent. Look closely at your tiles (the closeup of the 8 bams, 1 dots, and 2 dots). Some are smudged, some have surface erosion or something. The box looks mud-washed, which is a common thing we see on modern imports, to make things look older than they are. I don't know how the tiles fit into the box. I don't see the tiles arranged in a valuation-friendly arrangement to know that they're all there. So my valuation is not guaranteed to be perfect. I don't mind if you prove me wrong by getting more than $15 for it. Maybe you can get your whole $25 back. Maybe you'll find someone willing to buy it all, or maybe you'll get offers on the box only. Like I said, good luck with your sale.
    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
    March 31, 2022, 9:31 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old? How much? Part 2.

    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 08:56:11 PM EDT, Phil K wrote:
    Re: How old is my Maj Jong set
    Hi Tom,
    The $15 valuation is less than I paid for it.
    I paid $25 for it at an estate sale.
    Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
    Thanks for the information and details.
    The tiny white drawer knob was found in one of the drawers but needs a pin to reconnect it.
    Frankenstein might appeal to some collectors for "parts"
    Especially the older bone sticks. You mentioned that it might date to the 1920's.
    I would have the box date also evaluated by another Maj Jong expert.
    it is possibly very old. They could test the wood through physical analysis.
    I think it might appeal to someone for that reason.
    After I get another appraisal, I will just put it on Ebay as "As Is"
    Let any potential buyer make their own determinations.
    Thanks again for your input.
    Greatly appreciated.
    Very Best Regards,
    Phil

    You're welcome, Phil.

    Frankenstein might appeal to some collectors for "parts"
    Yes. That's who would buy it. Ask for more than $15 and you might get $15 for it. Or more, depending on how many collectors or resellers need that type of parts. You may as well throw out the buttons.

    Especially the older bone sticks. You mentioned that it might date to the 1920's.
    But those are common, yours are common, you have just a few anyway. They're nothing special.

    I would have the box date also evaluated by another Maj Jong expert.
    it is possibly very old. They could test the wood through physical analysis.
    I'll bet that wouldn't be cheap! Good luck with your sale.

    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
    Thursday, March 31, 2022, 9:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 2 (re: "Can I use a joker in a 2022?")

    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 05:36:38 PM EDT, Julia S wrote:
    2022 card
    Hello Tom,
    In response to the person who asked about jokers in a hand in the 2022 section of the new card, the top of the FRONT of the card (directly above 2022) says "JOKERS MAY NOT BE USED IN A 2022 GROUPING".
    Your answer about the general rule on the back of the card is certainly accurate, but this year the League included specific language for the 2022 section.
    (I got my new card today.)
    Julia S

    That's hilarious, Julia! Thanks for letting me know. Still watching my mailbox...
    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
    Thursday, March 31, 2022, 7:01 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why doesn't the new card come out in January?

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 04:40:06 PM EDT, Ira G. S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Why aren't the new mah jongg cards available in January of any given new year.
    Why does it take to April to receive new cards?

    Ah, frequently-asked question #19-BU!
    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
    Thursday, March 31, 2022, 7:03 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old? How much?

    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 12:41:56 PM EDT, Phil K wrote:
    how old is my Maj Jong set?
    Hello,
    I would like to know age and approximate value of my vintage maj jong set.
    Here are the details:
    There are 148 tiles or small block pieces. (Older style with embedded characters and images)
    There are 36 sticks, that appear to be bone.
    There are 25 green buttons, 20 red buttons, 10 brown buttons.
    There is one large green button with maj jong center window.
    I have attached several photos.
    Thanks in advance for any information or help.
    Kind Regards,
    Phil

    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 12:46:17 PM EDT, Phil K wrote:
    How old is my Maj Jong set
    Hello Tom,
    Here are some more pictures of my Maj Jong set.
    Thanks again for any information or help.
    Best Regards,
    Phil

    Hi, Phil! You asked:

    how old is my Maj Jong set?
    It appears to be a Frankenstein, so its various parts are of different ages. The so-called "Chinese Bakelite" tiles may have been made anytime from the 1950s to the 1990s. The box may have been made anytime from the 1920s to the 2000s. The bone scoring sticks look 1920s.

    and approximate value of my vintage maj jong set.
    Not very much. It looks like it's in lousy condition, and it's missing parts. The box was not made for those tiles, and in fact it might be of recent manufacture, artificially aged by soaking in mud like a thousand-year egg. Even if the box is 100 years old, it's dirty and missing a front panel and a drawer pull. Then there are the buttons, which function as a poor substitute for scoring sticks or chips. I doubt you can get $15 for the whole 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
    Thursday, March 31, 2022, 8:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I use a joker in a 2022?

    On Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 05:40:36 PM EDT, Myra D wrote:
    2022 card question
    Hello. In the 2022 section, can jokers be used in the hand: 2022 2022. 2022, 3 different suits?
    I said no jokers because the hand consists of singles and pairs. Am I correct?
    Thanks

    Myra, it says on the back of the card that a joker may be used only in a pung, kong, quint, or sextet. Those terms and this rule are explained more fully in FAQ 19-E2.
    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
    Wednesday, March 30, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    I suppose this counts as the first question about the 2022 card, but on the other hand, this is the same question that's been asked every year since 2001. But [sigh], okay. Alternate title: "The 2022 card, part 1." - Tom


    Sportsmanship or strategy, part 3
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 08:31:36 AM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom-
    RE: Moral dilemma part 2
    Thank you for your response.
    As I said, it was an experiment, and provided, as I had hoped , a teachable moment. We had an interesting discussion and valuable lessons were learned by all.
    Sue Z

    May the tiles be with you, Sue!
    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
    Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 9:50 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The scoring seems quite confusing.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, March 28, 2022, 06:48:56 PM EDT, Story E wrote:
    Hi Mr Sloper,
    We’ve been playing for 3 years now and have never kept score. Unless you count the “I won the most games today” as scoring. Our teacher never really stressed defensive play and so the goal was just to win not keep others from winning. Throwing a flower at the end of the game happens even if a player has exposures and it’s obvious she might mahj. We have gotten better but I believe keeping score is really the only way to change the mindset. I’m going to try persuading my group. ??
    My question is actually about scoring. Scoring is based on the assumption that you are playing for money. (Real or chips). The card says “ pays winner double”. “others pay single”. Does the winner get 25 for winning plus 50 from each player? (She picked winning tile.). Or just 50 from other players.
    I would love to see a real score sheet. It seems quite confusing.
    Thanks for your help.
    Story

    It's not that difficult, Story. It's all explained on the card, and there's more in my FAQs. You wrote:

    [We] have never kept score.
    That's fine. I enjoy playing that way myself.

    Our teacher never really stressed defensive play and so the goal was just to win not keep others from winning.
    That's a nice way to play.

    I believe keeping score is really the only way to change the mindset.
    I didn't know there was a mindset needing changing, but anyway...

    I’m going to try persuading my group.
    You can do that. I recommend using chips instead of coins, if there's resistance to using money. I describe how chips are used in FAQ 7d. "I think it would be fun to try keeping score. We can use these colorful plastic coins, wanna try it?"

    The card says “ pays winner double”. “others pay single”. Does the winner get 25 for winning plus 50 from each player? ... I would love to see a real score sheet. It seems quite confusing.
    I describe how payment works in FAQ 19w.

    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
    Monday, March 28, 2022, 8:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Sportsmanship or strategy, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, March 27, 2022, 05:38:30 PM EDT, sue z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom-
    Thanks for your response to my first moral dilemma question. I prefer a friendly game as well but sometimes I think you learn better from your mistakes, as long as the error is pointed out in a caring manner.
    Which brings me to Moral dilemma. Etiquette/courtesy/sportsmanship vs strategy? Part 2

    I am not sure if you are familiar with Royale Siamese Mah Jongg— 4 players, 2 sets of tiles, everyone plays 2 hands simultaneously and tiles can be exchanged between racks. Anyway, playing Royale Siamese using NMJL 2021 card and I am going for 3-6-9 #2 3333 666 9999 DDD. I call for discard and inadvertently make an invalid exposure of 2 6 Cracks and a 9 Crack. I discard too fast before noticing my error so I know that I am dead and am waiting for someone to call me on it. Nobody says a thing. Play continues and I call and correctly expose the Dragons and 3s, all pure. Nobody says a thing. I Mah Jongg my 2nd hand. Nobody says a thing. Then I draw a 9 Crack to complete the pure “dead” hand and decide to conduct an experiment and see if this will be a teachable moment. I call for Mah Jongg on the hand I know is dead. Am I correct is assuming that the reason you cannot win on a dead hand is because the other players are going to notice and call you dead? But, nobody says a thing. This is my winning hand, and pure, so in Royale Siamese you get double double hand value.

    Here’s my dilemma, I have a DEAD hand that nobody calls dead or verifies for Mah Jongg. NMJL says NEVER call your own hand dead. National Mah Jongg League Bulletin 2021. And your hand is not officially dead until another player calls it dead. Is it not the responsibility of opponents to verify Mah Jongg and call the declarer dead if the Mah Jongg is in error? Mah Jongg Made Easy 2020 page 16, #1. Assuming that I had gone forward with the win, who had the greater responsibility here, me or the three other players?
    Something similar happened to a friend and she called the National Mah Jongg League and their phone response to her was that since it is the responsibility of players to verify Mah Jongg, she wins and gets paid. What do you think?
    Thanks in advance.
    Sue Z

    Hi, Sue.
    Just because you didn't get caught doesn't mean you didn't break the law. You broke the law if you declared mah-jongg with an invalid exposure. But the League ruling is correct - it is too bad for your opponents if they never noticed that you were in error. Just the same, I would not have declared mahj with a bad hand. If you feel bad about it now, you can fess up to the others, and they can learn a valuable lesson. But don't you give back the quarters you won. Those are yours, unfair and square.
    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
    Sunday, March 27, 2022, 7:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Sportsmanship or strategy? Thanks in advance.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, March 27, 2022, 12:29:39 PM EDT, sue z wrote:
    Tom-
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A moral dilemma. Etiquette/courtesy/sportsmanship vs strategy? Part 1 (more to follow later)
    A player called 6 Crack and exposed it with a Joker and a 3 Crack. The player then immediately discarded ending their turn. At this point I noticed that they had an invalid exposure and called them dead. My question is, if I had noticed -- prior to them discarding, do I tell them and give them the opportunity to correct their exposure if they have the correct tile(s)? Or keep my mouth shut, wait for discard and then call them dead? I was not going to exchange the Joker.
    I notice that this type of exposure error occurs most frequently with Cracks. I think because we are not that familiar enough with the number symbols and often only see the large red Character symbol.
    Thanks. Sue Z

    On Sunday, March 27, 2022, 12:56:24 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from sue z
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    PayPal
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from sue z
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: sue z
    PayPal

    Hi, Sue. Firstly, thanks very much for the donation!
    Certainly, it can be advantageous to oneself for another player to go dead, but it's unkind to knowingly allow an opponent to make a fatal error when you can be a nice person and warn them in time.
    I like players who are nice.
    But I suppose if you're playing at a table that enjoys a more in-your-face competitive style, if they're always looking for excuses to call each other dead, then I suppose you could give them a taste of their own medicine.
    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
    Sunday, March 27, 2022, 4:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2021 card, part 47* (Consecutive Run #5)

    Mahjong question
    On Friday, March 25, 2022, 05:11:19 PM EDT, Christa M wrote:
    Hi Tom! On the 2021 card,does the fifth line under consecutive run require you to play 1,2,3 or can it be any consecutive number?
    Thanks,
    Christa M

    Hi, Christa! It can be any consecutive numbers. See FAQ 16 (answers to all the most frequently-asked questions about the 2021 card, here on this website), and this question is also answered on the NMJL's FAQs page
    I recommend you bookmark both for your future reference.
    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
    March 25, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * Part 3 x 18


    What if a player calls for the discard and the next player has already started their turn?

    On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, 09:11:25 PM EDT, <pm... wrote:
    chinese mahjong question
    Hi
    This is regarding a friendly game of mahjong, we're not ace players or anything like that. My question is, if someone discards a tile that someone else wants for lets say a pong (pung?) but before they say it the next person has picked up their tile. The tile is in their hand but not racked, if the person then says pung/pong, is it too late or does the other player have to put their tile back and the person that called it out gets to take it.
    Thanks, Pati M

    Hi, Pati. I recommend you use the official Chinese tournament 3-second rule. As long as the request for that discard is spoken within 3 seconds, any intervening action is undone. So if somebody says, "oh wait, I want that discard," then the player who started picking has to put the tile back on the wall. All you have to do is poll the table. "That was under 3 seconds, wasn't it?" If the majority thinks it was more than 3 seconds, then the caller is too late.
    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
    The ides of March, 2022, 9:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA



    Can I score "Case Tile" if my pung hadn't yet been exposed?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, March 13, 2022, 08:26:03 PM EDT, Glenn W wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello Again,
    Thank you for your answer to our previous question. We have another scoring question about Chinese Mahjong.
    I declared Mahjong by calling the 4th, 5 bam from another player’s discard. I already had an exposed chow of 4-5-6 bams. I had two other concealed 5 bams and called the last one to expose a pung for Mahjong.
    I used all four of the 5 bams. Do I get the 4 points for winning on the “Last Tile” or “Case Tile”? Your book states “Winning on the “case tile” (the last or fourth tile of its particular kind) when all players can plainly see that it’s so.
    I know I get the 2 points for “Tile Hog”, but we’re not sure what the statement in red means. Is it referring to the other 5’s having already being discarded or exposed?
    Thanks again,
    Karen W

    Karen, the other three tiles have to already have been visible to the other players before you won on it. Sorry, no 4 points.
    But thanks again for the donation! :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
    Sunday, March 13, 2022, 8:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    P.S. You should download the latest errata for my book, if you haven't already. - Tom


    Donation

    On Sunday, March 13, 2022, 07:53:51 PM EDT, Karen W via PayPal wrote:
    ka... sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You were sent $10.00 USD from ka...
    Mar 13, 2022 16:53:38 PDT
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama $10.00 USD 1 $10.00 USD
    Total: $10.00 USD

    Thank you, Karen!
    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
    Sunday, March 13, 2022, 8:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two players wanted the discard, part 2

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, March 13, 2022, 12:37:27 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    Tom-
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Regarding your answer to Lou—

      >>On Saturday, March 12, 2022, 03:43:15 PM EST, Louise D wrote:
      >>Mah jongg question
      >>If a player picks and discards a 5 bam, and another player calls it and racks her tiles, but another player then says Mah Jongg with that 5 bam, does the Mah Jongg caller get it even though the first player already racked her tiles?
      >>Lou D

      >See rule 13(c) on page 20 of the official rulebook. "[T]he mah-jongg declarer always gets preference", the rulebook says (I added the underline).

    What if the player who originally called the tile was to the right of the discarder? Rule 11 page 19 MJME 2020 says “A player shall not be permitted to call a tile for an exposure or Mah Jongg after the player to the right of the discarder has drawn a tile and racked or discarded”? What if the player to the right of the discarder was the one who called and racked (rather than drawn a tile and racked as stated in rule 11) the discarded tile in the scenario above?
    Thanks.
    Sue Z

    Interesting, Sue. I have to say, I had misgivings about citing rule 13(c) yesterday. Because as I was looking through the rulebook, I was looking for the rule that says once someone has placed tiles atop the rack, it was too late for anyone else to lay claim to the live discard. (The rule that sparked the whole "slam-exposing" controversy.) I was prepared to say "you snooze, you lose." Rules 13(a) and 13(b) say that, but those rules address calls for the same tile for the same purpose (both for exposure, or both for mah-jongg). The rule I cited to Lou, rule 13(c), addresses claims for the same tile but for different purposes (one for exposure, the other for mah-jongg). It says that in this case, snoozing isn't necessarily fatal. This rule was also stated in the 2020 newsletter (Q&A #13: "the Mah Jongg declarer gets preference even if the other player has begun to expose their tiles"). So despite my misgivings, I stated the rule correctly. A mah-jongg claimant takes precedence over an exposure claimant, even if the exposure has been made.
    Sorry about all the background. I needed to verify the ruling I gave yesterday first, before addressing your question. You asked, essentially, whether rule 11 provides an exception or contradiction to rule 13(c). It does not. Rule 11 specifies a situation in which the next player picks and racks. There's no conflicting claim for the discard under rule 11: one player wants the wall tile, and another player wants the most recent discard. Rule 11 says that if the player after the discarder picks and racks, a claimant for the discard is too late (even if that claimant wants the discard for mah-jongg). You're asking if that rule should apply to a situation where the two players want the same tile but for different purposes. No. That rule is stated in rule 13(c). The player claiming mah-jongg gets the discard even though the other claimant (the one who also wants the same discard, but for simple exposure) sits to the right of the discarder. It says "always".
    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
    Sunday, March 13, 2022, 4:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She was called dead.

    On Saturday, March 12, 2022, 03:46:19 PM EST, Louise D wrote:
    Mah jongg question
    A friend of mine was playing in a tournament. Her arm was in a cast. So she was using one hand to pick a tile, and another time she would use her other hand to pick. One tournament player said she was dead because she couldn't use two hands to play! Is that actually a Mah Jongg rule?
    Lou D.

    No, it isn't. See the rulebook.


    This is 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.

    The offenses punishable by "death" are listed on pages 21 through 23. No rule like this exists.
    But you say this was a tournament. Some tournament organizers may have their own rules. You can always request a judge to rule on a disagreement at a table. But no tournament I've attended ever had a "one hand only" rule. Not in their rule handouts, and not in the rule announcements.
    One time I was playing Japanese mah-jongg in Little Tokyo, and used one hand to pick and the other hand to discard. I was admonished not to use two hands like that. I was using two hands in one play. Your friend was using one hand for one play, then when her cast made it difficult to use that hand because of the wall's position on the table, she used the other hand for a separate play. Assuming her right hand was the one in the cast (and that she is right-handed), no reasonable person would object to her using the other hand when the cast made it difficult to use that hand.
    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
    Saturday, March 12, 2022, 4:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two players wanted the discard. One player acted before the other spoke.

    On Saturday, March 12, 2022, 03:43:15 PM EST, Louise D wrote:
    Mah jongg question
    If a player picks and discards a 5 bam, and another player calls it and racks her tiles, but another player then says Mah Jongg with that 5 bam, does the Mah Jongg caller get it even though the first player already racked her tiles?
    Lou D

    See rule 13(c) on page 20 of the official rulebook.


    This is 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.

    "[T]he mah-jongg declarer always gets preference", the rulebook says (I added the underline).
    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
    Saturday, March 12, 2022, 4:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I rob my own kong?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 05:03:46 PM EST, Glenn W wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In Chinese Mahjong, a player can take a tile from another’s kong to Mahjong. But can you take from your own kong to Mahj?
    The logical answer seems to be “no”, because you wouldn’t have the required 15 tiles to Mahj and you’d be “demoting” your kong.
    Just checking.
    Thanks,
    Karen
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Karen. I assume you're referring to the "robbing a kong" rule, right? A player whose hand is ready or waiting can rob the needed tile from an opponent, at the moment that that opponent promotes a kong. Opponent says "kong," then immediately you say "I'll take that! I win!" That's how robbing the kong works. It's treated as win by discard.
    So, let's examine your question logically. First, I have to have an exposed pung, and an incomplete chow that could be completed (for mah-jongg) if only I had a fourth of the same tile used in my exposed pung. Now I pick that fourth tile from the wall. It completes my chow and gives me mah-jongg, but I decide first I'll promote my pung to a kong, then steal it back from the kong to complete the final chow to win? That doesn't make sense. The tile gives me mah-jongg, without having to do any fancy shenanigans.
    So the answer is no. You can't rob your own kong.
    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
    Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 5:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Newby here

    On Monday, March 7, 2022, 04:32:25 PM EST, Comcast wrote:
    Newby here
    Hi Tom!
    I played my first in-person game last week, and actually got a MJ…with help of course.
    I’ve downloaded Real MahJongg (American). and play it as much as I can.
    Ugh. The cards! I’m getting the hang of it, but when I play online and I want to call a tile,
    I can only then display it as a group of 3. What if I’m going for a hand that only has 2 tiles,
    one of which I want to call?!
    What’s the easiest way to learn the rules of calling? I see tiles discarded by a player across from me,
    but I'm not given the option.
    Thanks for your help!
    Valerie
    Seattle

    Hi, Valerie! You wrote:

    when I play online and I want to call a tile,
    I can only then display it as a group of 3.
    The computer will also let you call a discard to expose a kong or a quint. Not only pungs. These terms are defined on the back of the card.

    What if I’m going for a hand that only has 2 tiles,
    one of which I want to call?!
    The computer will not allow you to make a move that's against the rules. It's illegal to call a discard to expose a pair, just as you cannot use a joker in a pair.

    What’s the easiest way to learn the rules of calling?
    It's pretty easy to read a book.


    Left: The League's official rulebook. Every online player 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.
    The bots are depending on you to know the 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
    Monday, March 7, 2022, 5:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me make that play?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, March 7, 2022, 12:56:08 PM EST, Maureen K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I was playing against the computer and had the combination of 2021 when the second 2 came up so I called it but the computer would not let me display it. What did I do wrong?
    I am a beginner…
    I was going for NNN EE 2021 WW SSS and I had most of the tiles.
    Thank you
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Maureen, would that tile have given you mah-jongg? Or just complete a 2021? Read these two links, in this order:
    1. FAQ 19-CT ("Why won't the computer let me expose a 202x or NEWS?")
    2. FAQ 19-E1 ("Can I claim a discard for a 2021/2022/202x?")
    Also, next time you have a question about your computer game, I'm not the person to ask. FAQ 24 describes how to get customer support for computer games.
    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
    Monday, March 7, 2022, 1:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Marching forth in support of Sloperama

    On Friday, March 4, 2022, 07:14:32 AM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Mar 4, 2022 04:14:16 PST
    You received a payment from Evelyn Henderson for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name Evelyn H
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    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
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    Next payment due Apr 4, 2022

    Thank you, Evelyn. I appreciate the ongoing support. Let us March Forth! Or, as they say here in New York: excelsior!
    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
    March Forth, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I have learned some new things

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 08:02:04 PM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Carol W
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Carol W
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Carol W
    Message: Tom - thanks for your work helping all of us enjoy the game of Mahjong. Although I have played for over 20 years I have learned some new things and am sure I will continue to do so. May the tiles be with you.

    Thank you, Carol!
    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
    Thursday, 3/3/2022, 8:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Using the 1950 NMJL card, part 4

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 05:30:29 PM EST, james wrote:
    1950 Charleston Completely Eliminated photo
    Tom,
    Here you go.
    James

    That's better. Thanks.


    Using the 1950 NMJL card, part 3

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 01:25:15 PM EST, james wrote:
    1950 card
    Tom,
    Here is the info.
    At the top of the card it says the Charleston eliminated.
    James
    Att: 1950 card info.pdf
    582.1kB

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 01:26:32 PM EST, james wrote:
    Passing Flowers
    Tom,
    Since you cannot pass a joker in today's world, we just concluded that you could not pass a flower in 1947 or 1950.
    Is that incorrect?

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 01:29:34 PM EST, james wrote:
    List of changes over time.
    Tom,
    This list came from a site that we thought was yours.
    Mah Jongg Through the Years - MahJonggMentor
    Mah Jongg Changes Through the Years.pdf
    60.3kB

    James, you wrote:

    At the top of the card it says the Charleston eliminated.
    Att: 1950 card info.pdf
    582.1kB
    I see. I wish you had sent that as a picture rather than a PDF. I could easily share a picture with my readers. Not so with a PDF.

    we just concluded that you could not pass a flower in 1947 or 1950.
    I see.

    Is that incorrect?
    It was incorrect to assume that based solely on what it says on the 1947 card. As for the 1950 removal of the Charleston, there was no passing, so no rule against what could not be passed (everything could not be passed). There must have been a time when flowers could not be passed, since later wording specifically said that they could. I used to get asked about that.*

    This list came from a site that we thought was yours.
    Aha. Thanks, very useful link. I'm merging that information with the information I'd already collected.

    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
    Thursday, 3/3/2022, 3:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    P.S. I found a discrepancy in that list - it says octettes were introduced in 1951, but I have a photocopy of the 1949 card, which includes octettes. - Tom
    * The rule that flowers could not be passed in the Charleston was first stated on the 1958 card; that rule was dropped in the nineties. - Tom


    Using the 1950 NMJL card, part 2

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 08:26:32 AM EST, james wrote:
    1947 to 1950
    Tom,
    According to the information on the 1947 card, flower tiles could not be passed or discarded.
    When did this rule change?
    James

    Hi, James.
    I don't think you really need to know when a rule change occurred, so much as what were the rules in use as of the 1950 card (which is the card you said you plan to use in your tournament). But I checked my files...
    I have a black-and-white photocopy of the 1947 card, and I see the rule that flowers can never be discarded (rule 10). I do not see a prohibition against passing flowers in the Charleston on the 1947 card. Where do you see that rule?
    I have the 1948 card, and a black-and-white photocopy of the 1949 card. Rule 10 remains the same on those cards.
    I do not have a copy of the 1950 card. If you do not see the same rule 10 on the 1950 card, then the answer to your question is "on the 1950 card." If you would like to send me a scan of the 1950 card, I will be better able to answer any further questions.
    Also, in yesterday's email, you said I have a list that says "Charleston eliminated" in 1950. Can you tell me where that list is? I could not find it. The Charleston is not missing from any card I have. As far as I know, the Charleston was a feature of NMJL rules all along, without interruption.
    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
    Thursday, 3/3/2022, 9:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Using the 1950 NMJL card

    On Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 09:49:59 AM EST, <james wrote:
    Question about the 1950 Mah Jongg Card
    Tom,
    Please do not use my email address in the post. Just James will be okay.
    We played the 1947 card and it worked great once the surprise was over.
    I want to use the 1950 Mah Jongg card in our next tournament.
    Have a few questions:
    The card says 24 flowers.
    No Jokers.
    Flowers can be used for anything, even singles and pairs.
    Your list for 1950 says "Charleston eliminated."
    Both are ok with me.
    Were any tiles removed from the set to accommodate the 24 flowers?
    Were there any other things that we need to add for that time?
    James

    Hi, James. Where is this list you mentioned? You asked:

    Were any tiles removed from the set to accommodate the 24 flowers?
    No.

    Were there any other things that we need to add for that time?
    You mean tiles, or other physical items? 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
    Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 10:10 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She doesn't do that

    On Tuesday, March 1, 2022, 06:02:36 PM EST, Carol N wrote:
    Courtesy Pass
    I played with someone today who said "I don't do one" at the courtesy pass. Is there any particular reason why one would not do just one?

    There's no harm in asking her this question, you know. I can only guess at her reasoning.
    There are two main reasons for any strategy: (a) To benefit one's own hand (offense); (b) To NOT benefit an opponent's hand (defense). I do not think she refuses because she thinks refusing helps her hand (because that clearly can't be the case). So the only reason I can think of is that she thinks the courtesy never nets her anything good, and she doesn't want to risk giving an opponent something good. Which is silly, since she's right that there's rarely anything good in the courtesy, so what's the harm in doing the exchange? The possible benefit to oneself is surely balanced by the possible advantage to the opponent.
    As for me, when I encounter someone who has a strange strategy, I accept that strangeness. If you think there might be value in her strategy, you can just try it for a while and see how it works for you.
    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
    Tuesday, March 1, 2022, 7:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Got article for ya, part 2

    Re: Mahjong interview on the web
    On Saturday, February 26, 2022, 03:34:28 PM EST, Pete S wrote:
    Hi Tom,
    Yes, I found it hard to read as well. You have to wonder what some webmasters are thinking when they choose the colors ??.
    -Pete-
    "If Russia lays down it’s weapons, there is no war. If Ukraine lays down it’s weapons, there is no Ukraine.”

    May the tiles be with you, Pete.
    Tom

    P.S. The interview Pete referenced in the first email turns out to be an overly verbose (almost 6,800 words, practically a novelette!) explanation of Ms. Stickley's kickstarter campaign to fund her online course to teach Hong Kong style mah-jongg.


    Got NEWS for ya.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, February 26, 2022, 01:44:11 PM EST, Sharon B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    When utilizing the 2020 card can you pick from the discard tiles a wind to complete NEWS? (FF DDDD NEWS DDDD).
    Also, can you use a joker in this sequence for the winds??
    THANK YOU,
    Sharon
    That's two questions, Sharon.
    1. Not unless it's for mah-jongg (not with the 2020 card, the 2021 card, or any card). Read FAQ 19-E.
    2. Never. Not with the 2020 card, not with the 2021 card, and not with any card. Read the back of the card and FAQ 19-E.
    And see FAQ 16-2020 for questions about the 2020 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
    Saturday, February 26, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Got article for ya.

    On Saturday, February 26, 2022, 12:14:44 PM EST, Pete S wrote:
    Mahjong interview on the web
    Hi Tom,
    I was perusing the Mahjong subreddit and came across a link to this article. I thought I would send it along to you in case any of your website readers might be interested in something new. Text link in case the BB doesn’t allow hypertext: http://thatentertains.com/interview-mona-remedios-stickley-and-the-mahjong-party/
    -Pete-
    "If Russia lays down it’s weapons, there is no war. If Ukraine lays down it’s weapons, there is no Ukraine.”

    Well, thanks, I guess, Pete. My poor eyes can't read that article since it's light-gray text on white (I've colored this exchange the same way to illustrate the point). And the article is really long, too. When I tried to read part of it, it was explaining stuff I already know, at some length. Can you tell me what the main gist is? Anything I need to know that I don't already? Something to do with themahjongparty.com, which is white text on pink background (so also hard to read)?
    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
    Saturday, February 26, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Our slow player did not say she needed it until I had already racked the tile

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, February 23, 2022, 10:48:15 PM EST, Dianne O wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    The person to my right threw out a one dot, that tile gave me mahjong! I called mahjong immediately picked up the tile and racked it. The player to her right was actually the next person to play and needed the same tile for mahjong, however she is a very slow player and was thinking about whether she needed it or not. She did not say she needed it until I had already racked the tile. Should the mahjong go to that person?
    It is my thinking that you should know what you need and be watching for that tile. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that out. She said that it was her turn and and I should have waited till she decided if she needed it? Who is right. I hate slow players..
    Ugh, I am quitting this game people are to slow.
    Regards,
    Dianne O

    Hi, Dianne!
    There is such a thing as too slow. Your slow player was too slow for her own good. During the interval between the discard touching the table or its name being spoken (whichever occurred first) and your placing the tile atop your rack, she needed to speak her definitive claim for the tile. There is no "hold" or "wait" rule in mah-jongg. Once the tile was on the top of your rack, her window of opportunity was firmly closed shut. Show your slow player rule 13(b) on page 20 of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the NMJL. Also see FAQ 19-H3.

    You also wrote:

    Ugh, I am quitting this game people are to slow.
    Well, I'm glad I had a chance to hear from you this first-and-last time. Hope you enjoy whatever alternate activity you take 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
    February 24, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2021 card, part 46* (Consecutive Run #5)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, February 20, 2022, 08:40:37 AM EST, Claire R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    2021 card consecutive run line 5 - FF 1111 2222 3333- My question is- Can you use any consecutive numbers or must the numbers be the same as shown on the card? For example can I use FF 5555 6666 7777?
    Thank you,
    Claire R

    Hi, Claire!
    You'll find your answer in these two places:
    FAQ 16 (answers to all the most frequently-asked questions about the 2021 card, here on this website)
    The NMJL's FAQs page
    I recommend you bookmark both for your future reference.
    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
    Sunday, 2/20/2022, 9:00 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * Part 3 x 17


    Can I use zero in Consecutive Runs?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, February 18, 2022, 03:36:45 PM EST, Kathleen G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: The mah jonggcard simply states that the white dragon is used as a zero with any suit. We know it can be used in the date solution, I.e., 2021. However can it also be used in consecutive runs where any consecutive numbers are needed?
    Sent from my iPhone

    No, Kathleen. You may not come up with other creative ways to use zero, other than zeroes that you see printed on the card. See page 30 of the official rulebook:

    Or see FAQ 19-BH here on my site.
    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
    Friday, February 18, 2022, 5:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Frequently asked question 19-P, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 08:49:30 PM EST, Barbara J wrote:
    Thanks so much!

    You're welcome, Barbara!!
    Tom
    8:55 pm


    Frequently asked question 19-P

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 07:55:51 PM EST, Barbara J wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can a joker be replaced from a dead, exposed hand?

    Hi, Barbara! Yes, depending on how the player went dead. Please scroll down and read the answer I gave Fern H yesterday.
    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
    Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 8:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A Q prompted by the latest newsletter (tangentially related to Q&A #1), continued

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 09:34:59 AM EST, Fern H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Okay, I realize my question wasn’t precise enough, so here goes with a better attempt, using context. In the course of playing the current league card, I make a kong exposure of 3 3 bams and 1 joker. Later I make a pong exposure of 2 4 bams and 1 joker. I discard a tile and my turn is over. Another player then says my hand is dead because there are 3 1 bams on the table and the only hand I could be playing requires 2 1 bams. Are both the jokers I have in my exposures eligible for redemption by others? This question arises because of the first question in the January 2022 league newsletter.
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Good morning, Fern!
    Yesterday I cited rule 3b on page 16 of the official rulebook, which addresses your question. You probably don't have the rulebook, but you can click this link to FAQ 19-P, which spells out in great detail what happens to exposed jokers when a player goes dead. Ambiguous exposures remain atop the rack when a player is called dead, but exposures that show the hand to be dead must be returned to the sloping front of the rack, making any jokers contained therein unavailable for redemption. (See FAQ 19-P for the complete details.) So in the case of valid exposures, when the hand goes dead, valid exposures remain atop the rack. You couldn't make your pair, but your exposures were valid. Your exposed jokers remain valid for redemption. The same for the asker of Q&A #1 - her death was not the result of invalid exposures, and neither was yours.
    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
    Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 10:20 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A Q prompted by the latest newsletter from the League (Q&A #1)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, February 14, 2022, 10:56:25 AM EST, Fern H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    The new 2022 league newsletter, Question 1 regarding redemption of jokers from a dead hand: one group member reads the league answer “that Joker which was exposed prior to the hand being call ‘dead’ is eligible to be replaced throughout the balance of the game” as meaning that even the joker in an exposure which caused the hand to be called dead is eligible to be replaced, because it was exposed PRIOR to the hand being called dead. Well, yeah, if that particular exposure is what resulted in the hand being called dead, of course it was exposed PRIOR to the hand being called dead. But does that mean it’s also eligible to be replaced? To me that indicates a VERY close reading of the word “prior.” Your thoughts would be appreciated.
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Hi, Fern!
    The asker of question #1 was talking about a single exposure only, one that does not by itself suggest a dead hand (since the question specifically says "an exposure" - and one exposure is usually ambiguous). The asker didn't ask about "an exposure which caused the hand to be called dead." In her question, the hand was called dead for a reason unrelated to any exposure(s). Rule 3b on page 16 of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the NMJL, does not apply to the question, and that rule is not contradicted by this ruling. Context matters.
    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
    Monday, St. Valentine's Day, 2022, 11:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Siamese questions

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, February 13, 2022, 11:06:10 AM EST, Dorothy T wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: On the 2022 Siamese Card we do not understand the “Atomic” choice. I the goal 7 consecutive pairs in the same suit. When are you required to announce your intention? Can you change your mind? And also, it says you may not throw jokers or flowers - does that mean that you must use those tiles in your second hand?
    Also, what is the significance of the underlined singles and doubles? Ex. In 13579 the first hand has 2 pairs that are underlined. In consecutive the first hand that 2 pairs that are not underlined. What is the difference?
    Thanks

    Sorry, Dorothy, but I have not seen this Siamese card. Surely you can ask Gladys Grad your questions? I assume she's the creator of the card, since she's the creator of Siamese Mah Jongg. Surely the card has the website information, and on the website you can click the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the site to ask any 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
    Sunday, February 13, 2022, 2:22 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Which player can redeem that joker?

    Re: MahJongg Question
    On Friday, February 11, 2022, 07:52:15 PM EST, Wendy S wrote:
    Thank you
    Sent from my iPad

    You're welcome, Wendy!
    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
    2/11/22, 7:55 pm


    Which player can redeem that joker?

    MahJongg Question
    On Friday, February 11, 2022, 06:45:28 PM EST, Wendy S wrote:
    Hi Tom,
    I have a question concerning claiming a joker from another player’s rack.
    If two players have the same replacement tile who gets to claim the joker?
    Thank you.
    Wendy S
    Sent from my iPad

    That's easy, Wendy. The one who's holding 14 tiles in the hand is the one who can redeem that joker. See the back of the card.

    Left pane, the paragraph that starts with the word "Jokers." Last line. You can redeem a joker only when it's your turn (when you are holding 14 tiles in the hand). Nobody else can redeem it during your turn.
    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
    Friday, 2/11/22, 7:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Claiming a discard for Mahjongg with a concealed hand (part 2)

    Re: Claiming a discard for Mahjongg with a concealed hand.
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022, 08:36:08 PM EST, Donna Grossman wrote:
    Thank you for the clarification.

    You're welcome, Donna!
    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
    Thursday, February 10, 2022, 9:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Dispute involving the Charleston

    On Thursday, February 10, 2022, 04:58:16 PM EST, <johnh wrote:
    Stopping the Charleston after 1st left
    We had a dispute at a recent game. The player at my right was more deliberate (slower) than the rest of us at the table. At one point in the game the player across the table from me discarded her first left; picked up her tiles from the first left; discarded her second left; picked up her tiles from the second left; all before the person on my right had chosen her discards for her first left. I wished to stop the Charleston after the first left but was told I could not do so because the player across from me had already racked tiles from the second left. I insisted I had a right to stop the Charleston; she insisted I lost that right once she racked the tiles from the second left. Who was correct?
    Thanks for any help you can give as to how this should have been resolved.

    Sorry, John, but once a player has picked up the second left pass, it is too late to stop the Charleston. This is why I teach my students to verbalize every pass, and why I also teach my students to not get ahead in the passing. Each player in turn should say, loud enough for the others to hear, "first right," "first across," and "first left." I teach my students that nobody should pass first-across until everyone has picked up first-right, and so on. I teach my students to arrange the second left in a pyramid (some like to call it "putting a hat on it") and very clearly announce, "second left." You could have said then, "please don't pick up second left. I haven't received my second left yet."
    I do not teach my students to ask if everybody is okay going on to the second left, but if they are using best-practice verbalizations all along, then the thing that happened to you shouldn't happen.
    The problem here wasn't necessarily your "more deliberate" player, so much as the player who jumped the gun and picked up the second left pass without considering the possibility that you (the player sitting at the left of the slower player) might want to stop the Charleston. The problem is that even though one of your players takes a little more time to think, everybody just rushes on ahead regardless. It's a sure recipe for exactly the situation you encountered. It would be just desserts for your jump-the-gun player if she had to sit at the left of the more-deliberate player! Makes me wonder if your group uses seat rotation, or if you always sit in the same seats...
    By the way, your use of the term "discard" threw me off at first. As someone who writes about mah-jongg and who writes game designs and game instructions, I strive for clarity, and I try to avoid using words to mean multiple things unless it can't be avoided. To me, players are not discarding during the Charleston - they're passing tiles. But that's just me, so ignore this paragraph!
    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
    Thursday, February 10, 2022, 5:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    P.S. The governor of New York has ended the mask mandate in the state, so I'm not wearing my mask here. But as an at-risk person, when I go out in the real world, I'm mostly still wearing it. Besides, it keeps my face warm in the Upstate New York climate! - Tom
    P.P.S. Don't bother reading the P.S. above, and don't read this P.P.S. either. - Tom


    Claiming a discard for Mahjongg with a concealed hand.

    On Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 05:16:12 PM EST, Donna G wrote:
    Claiming a discard for Mahjongg with a concealed hand.
    Hi Tom,
    I know you can’t claim a discard with a concealed hand during play but can you claim a discard for Mahjongg with a concealed hand? We have always thought no but because someone questioned this we would like to know for sure. I have used your book a lot but couldn’t find the answer to this question.
    Donna

    Yes, Donna, you can win on a discard with a concealed hand. Nobody sees any exposures from you until the moment you win, when you have to show the whole thing. You said you couldn't find it in my book? Let's see FAQ 19 first: this is answered in FAQ 19-E3, where it says to see my book on page 54, rule 64(ii). But actually, when I checked, it's not in the book on that page - I need to update the errata. Answers are probably easier to find in FAQ 19 than the book anyway (since you can search a web page easily).
    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
    Wednesday, February 9, 2022 9:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two questions kind of smooshed together

    On Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 11:18:32 AM EST, tanddb wrote:
    American Mahjongg question.
    If you need only 1 tile to win and someone throws down the tile you need, can you call for that tile no matter what tile it is (Joker included) I know you can't use a joker for a pair.
    Thank you

    No, tandd. When a joker is discarded, it is dead and cannot be picked up by anyone. Read FAQ 19-G. I think you also asked FAQ 19-E. If you need a discarded non-joker to make a pair for mah-jongg, you can call it.
    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
    Wednewsday, February 9, 2022, 4:30 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Totally enjoy what you do

    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Steven P
    On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, 11:54:58 PM EST, service@paypal wrote:
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    Aw, thanks, Steven!
    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
    Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 7:30 AM
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    Called her dead but she wasn't. Is there a penalty?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, 05:31:18 PM EST, Sandy K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If player A calls player B dead and player B is not dead is player A penalized
    Sent from my iPhone

    Yes, Sandy. See FAQ 19-AB for 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
    Tuesday, February 8, 2022, 6:50 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Learning how to read the card

    On Monday, February 7, 2022, 01:25:46 PM EST, Virginia S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is the following consecutive run eligible for Mah Jongg?
    11 3333 555 77 999
    On the card it is stated as (These No’s. Only)
    11 333 5555 777 99. My hand was consecutive, but quantities varied from the card.
    I’m just learning, and find that reading the card appropriately is one of the more difficult lessons.
    Thank you for your help.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Virginia!
    No, you can never mess with the size of the tile groupings on the card. The suits are flexible, and in Consecutive Runs the numbers are mostly flexible, but the tile grouping sizes are set in stone. Kongs shown on the card must always be kongs, pungs must always be pungs, pairs must most definitely always be pairs. 13579 #1 must be played as a pair of ones, a pung of threes, a kong of fives, a pung of sevens, and a pair of nines.
    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
    Monday, February 7, 2022, 1:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A Q prompted by the latest newsletter from the League (Q&A #13)

    On Saturday, February 5, 2022, 09:53:11 AM EST, <jamescaboose wrote:
    Start of turn
    Tom,
    In the most recent booklet from the National League, the Q&A section had the following:
    Q. When does a player's turn actually begin?
    A. A player's turn begins when they have picked a tile from the wall.
    Does this mean that I cannot call a discarded tile until the next player in line draws a tile from the wall?
    I was always taught that the next player's turn starts as soon as the previous player correctly names the tile he/she is discarding.
    And, that a discarded tile can be called as soon as it is properly named, which has nothing to do with picking a tile from the wall.
    Jim M.

    Hi Jim, you asked about Q&A #13 in the 2022 newsletter/bulletin:

    Does this mean that I cannot call a discarded tile until the next player in line draws a tile from the wall?
    No. There is no rule that you have to wait for a player to start their turn before you can call a discard. You can call a discard as soon as its name has been spoken. You don't have to wait for the next player to start taking their turn so you can interrupt them.

    I was always taught that the next player's turn starts as soon as the previous player correctly names the tile he/she is discarding.
    For reasons unknown, a lot of people have been asking recently "when does my turn begin" or "what constitutes the start of a player's turn," and the League has seen it fit to answer the question officially in the January 2022 bulletin. Until the League specifically worded this fine point of the rules, those who have taught others have worded the concept their own way. The League sets the rule, no matter what you were taught by someone who's not a League official.

    And, that a discarded tile can be called as soon as it is properly named,
    You were taught correctly, but there's more to it. The discard is "down" when it touches the table or is completely named, whichever happens first. Once it's down, the discarder cannot take it back - and a lot of players experience a sudden "change of heart" and try to undo what they've done. Think of it as "discarder's remorse," which happens if somebody looks like they want the tile. That's the "no backsies" part of when a player's turn ends. But as it says on the back of the card, you have to wait for the discard to be named before calling it.

    which has nothing to do with picking a tile from the wall.
    Yes, nothing to do with that. The question "when does a turn officially begin" is indeed a separate question from "when does a player's turn officially end." (Technically speaking.)

    Your teacher was saying "when one player's turn ends, another player's turn begins," and I may have said that myself. But "when a turn begins" (under that definition) doesn't necessarily equate with "when a player starts to take their turn." That's a fine distinction based on how the question is worded.

    P.S. Picking from the wall is not the only way to begin one's turn. Calling the most recent discard also begins a turn (whether taken "in turn" or not).

    [Added Feb. 9] We've all heard or said, "Hey Susie, it's your turn." The player before Susie discarded, and nobody called for the tile. It's Susie's turn but she hasn't started her turn. So you see, there's a difference between when the turn can rightfully begin (or "begins") and when the player starts to actually take their turn. I don't know which rule has been prompting people to ask "when does the turn begin" but I'll bet the hinging factor is the player whose turn it is actually taking action himself or herself. Context matters.

    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
    Saturday, February 5, 2022, 10:35 am (modified several times up to 11:12)
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Only Two Suits and Five Families disconnect

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, February 4, 2022, 07:43:27 PM EST, Liz B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    In Asian Mah Jongg, points are awarded for “only two suits” – does a hand qualify for those points if there is one suit and just the pair is a second suit? The issue arises that in the “five Families Hand” – all suits have to have 3 of a kind and then of course the pair will match one of those suits. Some are saying that in “Only Two Suits” if only the pair is a different suit, it should not qualify – that there would need to be at least 3 of that second suit in the hand (a pung or a chow).
    Thank you

    Hi, Liz!
    It sounds like you're talking about Chinese Majiang Competition Rules (CMCR), but you're using different names for the scoring combinations than I'm accustomed to. If I'm wrong, and my reply doesn't make sense, please tell me the name of the author of the book you and your friends use, so I can rectify your book with mine.


    (My book)


    In my book, "only two suits" is called "One Voided Suit" (I didn't come up with the name, I kind of like yours better). And "five families" is called "All Types." You said:

    Some are saying that in “Only Two Suits” if only the pair is a different suit, it should not qualify – that there would need to be at least 3 of that second suit in the hand (a pung or a chow).
    Some are wrong, unless some can show it in print.

    You drew a parallel between the Only Two Suits hand ("One Voided Suit") and Five Families ("All Types") but I don't understand the parallel. The "All Types" hand just has to have bams, dots, craks, winds, and dragons - it doesn't matter if any or all of them are pairs (my book says the hand can be seven pairs). The "One Voided Suit" hand cannot have all three suits in it; one suit has to be missing. It doesn't matter if one of the suits is a pair or not. No CMCR rule book that I have seen says anything like what "some" are saying. This hand below would qualify as "One Voided Suit," because it fits the hand description:

    This hand would score for Dragon Pung (and Seat Wind or Prevalent Wind if applicable), and One Voided Suit - because there are no bams in the hand. It doesn't matter if the dots are just a pair. There are no bams, thus one suit is "voided" - thus it's "Only Two Suits."

    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
    Friday, February 4, 2022, 9:20 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Support for the Q&A board and the FAQs

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    Thank you for your continuing support, Evelyn! Hat's off to you. Brrr, putting it back on, it's cold out there!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
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    Can I call a discarded redeemable tile and redeem it? (Frequently Asked Question 19-G)

    On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 09:27:58 PM EST, Buddy H wrote:
    Mahjong question
    Tom-My question is: If you have three, fours and a joker exposed on your rack, and someone lays the other four instead of taking your joker, can you call for it and use your joker to Mahjong? Thank you for your answer!!! Janice.
    Sent from my iPad

    This is answered in the Jokers section of FAQ 19, Janice. A discarded redeemable tile cannot be claimed and redeemed. Down is dead. Read FAQ 19-G2. It's rule 5 on page 23 of the National Mah Jongg League's official rulebook. Every table should have the official rulebook on hand. In the absence of the rulebook, you can bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference; it answers all the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg rules. And there's also my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." It's also a useful reference, and handy to have.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, February 3, 2022, 8:12 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a kong be considered 2 pairs?

    On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 07:48:41 PM EST, Angelique W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can a 7 pairs be: a Kong (4 identical tiles) and 5 pairs ? I would say No, but I need to get the expert like you to tell me.
    We have people in our group argued that they can split the Kong to be 2 pairs, thus making 7 pairs. I disagreed with the group but I have nothing to show to them in writing. My common sense would say that that’s not 2 pairs, it’s 4 identical tiles!
    Thank you for pointing me to the right direction. Thank you.
    Angélique W
    The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Tao Te Ching

    囧 Hi, Angélique. I'm afraid my answer will be based on what-ifs, because I don't know the details of the situation your group is arguing about. I don't know if you play a Chinese or Japanese variant or American (National Mah Jongg League) rules, and I don't know if the kong is an exposed kong (a kong that has been melded) or just 4 identical tiles within the concealed hand.
    If you're playing Chinese or Japanese rules (or any other "un-American" rule set), then it depends on whether the four tiles are melded or not. Most Asian rule sets permit two identical pairs (and why not?), as long as they have not been melded as a kong. Once melded as a kong, those two pairs may not be separated - it's not legal in any variant to meld a pair (or two pairs) prior to declaring mah-jongg.
    There is no "any old seven pairs" hand in American rules. If you're using a table rule, then your group can set whatever rule the majority decides (and it's not up to me to decide your rule for you). And of course, jokers may not be used in a pair (the kong would have to be all-natural).
    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
    Thursday, February 3, 2022, 8:10 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2021 card, part 45*

    On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 06:17:16 PM EST, Mary Nell M wrote:
    FF 1111 2222 3333
    FF 1111 2222 3333 (Any 1 or 3 Suits)
    Can this be played with any 3 Consecutive Numbers? It only states "any 1 or 3 suits" and does not say "consecutive numbers." Confusing.
    Mary Nell M

    It can be any three consecutive numbers, Mary Nell. Please bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card (by the way, this question is also answered on the NMJL's own FAQs page). And I've written answers to the most frequently asked questions about the NMJL rules in FAQ 19.
    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
    Thursday, February 3, 2022, 8:05 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * Part 3 the 16th


    What is it, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, January 31, 2022, 05:25:48 PM EST, engschaeffer wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello and thank you for replying. I continued searching on line and found out what the mystery item is. It is a Nepalese long dice. 3 of them would be used to play a game called chaupur. A very similar game to the game pachisi, or parcheesi. You would use these long dice or 7 cowrey seashells to determine how many places that your game pieces would move on the board.
    Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

    Very cool, Richard. Thanks for sharing.
    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
    Monday, January 31, 2022, 5:45 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is it??

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, January 31, 2022, 11:24:27 AM EST, engschaeffer wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello. I have a pirce that i am trying to identify. I have had no luck and would like to attach a xouple photos and see if you recognize it. Thank you, Richard
    Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

    That's a mystery, Richard! It's not a mah-jongg piece, but it does look like a game piece of some sort. As part of your search, I recommend you check Pagat.com, the Domino Games section and try also the link to "other tile games" there. Thanks for asking, and I hope you'll let me know if you find something.
    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
    Monday, January 31, 2022, 12:20 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can you call a discard to expose a single or pair or 2021 or NEWS? (part 2)

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, January 28, 2022, 09:31:55 PM EST, Raquel K wrote:
    Not seeing the answer.?? only have my phone at this location

    All I can tell you is that the answer is up there. If you can Refresh the browser, or use a different browser, you'll see it. I can't tell you how to do those things on a phone.
    Here's what it says on the website:

      Hi, Raquel!
      It's pretty much the same rule for calling a discard as it is for using a joker. You can't use a joker in a single or pair, and you can't call a discard for a single or a pair either. Read FAQ 19-E.* The main difference is, as you noted, for mah-jongg. You can call a discard for a single or pair to make mah-jongg, but you still can't use a joker in a single or pair, no matter what (as you noted).
      You might want to 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
    Friday, January 28, 2022, 9:40 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can you call a discard to expose a single or pair or 2021 or NEWS?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, January 28, 2022, 08:11:06 PM EST, Raquel K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Uding theamerican mahjobg card,,I know a joker can never be used in a single. i.e. pairs, 2022, and News hands. Can a card be taken from the table for 2022 or News IF it is not for a mahjong? We have quite the debate down South where so many are coming to play from all over the the country?
    Help
    Raquel

    Hi, Raquel!
    It's pretty much the same rule for calling a discard as it is for using a joker. You can't use a joker in a single or pair, and you can't call a discard for a single or a pair either. Read FAQ 19-E.* The main difference is, as you noted, for mah-jongg. You can call a discard for a single or pair to make mah-jongg, but you still can't use a joker in a single or pair, no matter what (as you noted).
    You might want to 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
    Friday, January 28, 2022, 8:20 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * The rule is stated on page 12 of the 2020 edition of the official rulebook, "Mah Jongg Made Easy." Every table needs to have a copy. - Tom


    Have the rules changed in the last 60 years?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 08:43:00 AM EST, June V wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I was a player from 1954 until 1961 when my second child was born and switched to bridge when my children were grown.
    Returning to Mah Jong I do not recall certain rules about Jokers and wonder if Jokers were added or rules were changed during this interval.
    Specifically, the rule that doubletons cannot include a joker. Thank you in advance for your response.
    June V
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Hi, June!
    Yes, jokers were added, and rules have been changed, since 1961. The up-to-date rules are written on the back of the card, but not all of them. I recommend you get a copy of the League's official rulebook. Or you could get my book to get up to date on the current rules.


    Left: The League's official rulebook. Every player 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
    Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 8:50 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two questions, part 2

    On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 04:03:50 PM EST, Mary D wrote:
    Re: hello
    PS I have never heard that you can take a tile unless it is your turn IE East disgards 2 crack only South (next player) can pick that tile up .....
    TY

    Hi again, Mary.

    It's a rule in Asian variants that a discard may be claimed for a chow (a run of 3 sequential numbers in one suit, like 3-4-5) only if it's your turn (thus the tile was discarded by the player at your left). I'm beginning to wonder if you really play American rules or not... or maybe I'm starting to see now why you asked if "local rules" exist. Still curious to know the story behind these 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
    Tuesday, January 2, 2022, 4:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two questions

    On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 03:58:22 PM EST, Mary D wrote:
    hello
    I have provided your site to many people, I find it to be the most helpful. I am now in year two and have two questions;
    1. Have you ever heard of creating local rules for playing?
    2. If I have in my hand NEW and pick up an S can I display NEWS? I was told only if I am declaring Mahjong?
    Thank you for your time and expertise...
    M

    Hi, Mary!

    Sure. Table rules are rules played at one household, or by all the players of one group. There can be clubs (like a country club, or a senior center) where everybody uses club rules. In the 1930s, American players all played their local neighborhood rules, creating problems when players moved or played around; the National Mah Jongg League was founded in 1937 to solve the problem of "no national rules." So, yes, I have heard of local rules. Curious why you ask...

    You were told correctly. See FAQ 19-E-1.

    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
    Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 4:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Confused, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 12:49:58 PM EST, Bonnie Z wrote:
    Thanks for the info.

    You're welcome, Bonnie.
    Tom


    Confused by NMJL scoring

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 07:31:12 AM EST, Bonnie Z wrote:
    How much is a closed hand mahjong worth without jokers?
    Also how much is a closed hand mahjong worth if you pick it yourself?
    Is there a website that deals with the rules and payouts for closed hands?
    Thank you.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Bonnie! You wrote:

    How much is a closed hand mahjong worth without jokers?
    See the back of the card, lower left corner. See headline "BONUS:".


    Scoring is explained at the lower left corner

    If the hand is not in the "Singles & Pairs" section, its score is doubled if the hand is made without jokers.

    Also how much is a closed hand mahjong worth if you pick it yourself?
    Also on the back of the card, lower left corner (above the jokerless section), see headline "SCORING:". You earn double value from everyone if you pick it yourself.

    Is there a website that deals with the rules and payouts for closed hands?
    I'm not sure what you're looking for, but the "Winning, Scoring, Paying" section of my FAQ 19 answers all the usual questions about NMJL scoring. Especially FAQ 19-AN and FAQ 19-W.

    Come on back if you still have questions about 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
    Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 8:55 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Ivory towers, part 2

    On Monday, January 24, 2022, 09:02:03 PM EST, service@paypalwrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Eric S
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Eric S.
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Eric S
    Message: Hi Tom - This is Amy from Florida - the person with no walls or Charleston :) Thanks for your answer.
    PayPal

    Thank you, Amy!
    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
    Monday, January 24, 2022, 9:10 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My mah-jongg story

    Mah Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, January 24, 2022, 10:57:27 AM EST, Mollie T wrote:
    I have my grandmother's (bamboo and bone) set and have played for decades. Started out with a friend in Chaco Canyon who knew the rules (sort of), and used to play with the pieces (her grandmother's) when she was little. When we moved from Albuquerque to Santa Fe 30+ years ago, we lit upon mahjong as a way of keeping in touch with some other good Chaco friends: we'd go down there, they'd come up here, we'd play into the wee hours and spend the night. We still play with Peter and Janet, maybe three or four times a year. We've never figured out a satisfying way to play with five, or I'm sure we'd get together with Marcia as well.
    We taught our younger son Spencer and his girlfriend to play (they are fierce card sharks) and it took them about one wind to become more wiley than us. We're rather casual.
    Our next door neighbor, on the brink of 90 and a real pistol, was very serious about mahjong for years. We'd see the cars outside Margaret's house and think, oh right it's Tuesday: mahjong. She plays by elaborate rules, and money. We've never dared play with her. However, Margaret is the source of a second set which she gave us when my grandmother's set just disappeared for a year or two (?). This is a set one of her grandchildren brought her from San Francisco, and which I now know (from reading your site) is pulverized and reconstituted fishbone, if that isn't the craziest thing ever.
    I encountered your site when trying to figure out something truly strange (won't seem strange at all to you). A friend at work died recently, and I ended up involved with breaking apart her house and dispersing her possessions. Her sister said "here what's this??" and when I answered that it was a mahjong set in its little suitcase, she said "it's yours". Cheeto orange, like nothing I'd ever seen or heard of. So I went looking and found your website, and more information than I ever imagined.
    I always suspected that my grandmother's set was bone, not ivory, but now I know what to look for to confirm that. I have pieces from all three sets, plus some random ones from other sets that were rattling around in the Cheeto suitcase, packed up to take to work this morning. I want to look at them through my very nice microscope there, and consult with the osteologist (next door down from my lab). That should entertain us for awhile. Ann Stodder (the osteologist) is frequently called upon to identify historic artifacts suspected of being bone (buttons, toothbrushes, razor handles) but I don't know if she's ever come across mahjong pieces.

    Hi, Mollie!
    Thanks for sharing your mah-jongg story. It'll be interesting to hear what you and your osteologist neighbor find out.
    I wasn't sure if you had any questions for me. Some old plastic tiles can yellow with age, depending on the storage conditions, even turning "Cheeto orange."
    As for five-player rules, it depends on which mah-jongg variant you play. From your mention of "it took them about one wind," I assume you play an Asian variant. I haven't heard of a good five-player method for Asian mah-jongg.
    Write me again if you have any questions, or to share your microscopic/osteologic findings.
    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
    January 24, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Unusual set, part 4

    Re: Mahjong question - unusual material combination?
    On Sunday, January 23, 2022, 11:13:17 AM EST, Andrew wrote:
    Hello, I'm sending new pics and with better quality of focus. About the plastic sticks what I meant was, I thought all the 50s~60s games came with sticks made from natural materials only, I did not knew that they originaly could have plastic sticks in such old games.

    Hi, Andrew.
    These photos are better, but I still don't know what your tiles are made of. The shiny backs look like plastic. The white part might also be plastic, if not pulverized fishbone. That type of set, in cloth-covered trays in a cloth-covered "briefcase" type box, is commonly from the 90s. My 1990s cloth briefcase sets are pulverized fishbone, with bone sticks.
    I have a set from the 20s or 30s with plastic sticks. Your plastic sticks are unique but I don't have an age estimate for them.
    An odd thing about your set is the wooden bar that replaces 4 tiles (which is why you have only 140 tiles, not the usual 144). I wonder if that is original or added post-market. And I wonder why the set was made with no flowers - made in China, for sale in Japan? If the bar is movable, it should separate out just 4 blank tiles, not 8 (four of them are the set's white dragons).
    I don't know that your set is complete as it was originally sold, and I don't know that your set is really from the 50s or 60s.
    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
    Sunday,January 23, 2022, 6:40 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Unusual set, part 3
    On Saturday, January 22, 2022, 08:08:27 PM EST, Andrew wrote:
    Re: Mahjong question - unusual material combination?
    I'm sorry, I've forgot to attach the pictures before and have sent a reply, but I think it was not delivered, so I'm sending them once more below.
    About the betting sticks, what I meant was, is it right they being made out of plastic? I mean, my friend have said the game was from 50s or 60s, was there games with the sticks made out of plastic back then?

    Plastic sticks are not unusual, Andrew.


    Unusual set, part 2

    Re: Mahjong question - unusual material combination?
    On Saturday, January 22, 2022, 03:03:11 PM EST, Andrew wrote:
    Sorry, I've forgot to attach the pics, here.

    Hi, Andrew. That helps a little. You asked:

    What do you think the tiles are made of?
    Hard to tell from those small photos. Might be bone, might be pulverized fishbone. Could even be plastic. Have you read FAQ 7c: "What Are They Made Of?"? Can't tell what the backs are made of, either.

    Do you think the tiles are incomplete?
    It's got enough tiles to play Japanese mah-jongg, or an Asian version that doesn't require flowers.

    The sticks are made from plastic, is that right?
    So it appears, but the photos are too small and unfocused. Couldn't you take bigger, sharper photos?

    Why the carving looks so simple and very few colors?
    Two possible reasons:
    - The maker believed that bright colors are too garish, or made the set for players who prefer a more sedate game;
    - The tiles might have been soaked in clay to make them look older than they really are, or to make them more uniform;
    - Or both (the colors weren't "garish," and then the tiles were bathed in clay to make them seem "antique"). If the tiles feel dry, kind of dusty, then it's an old set that somebody tried to "improve."

    How much do you think it's worth?
    I can't tell, without proper condition descriptions of all the set's components. See FAQ 7h: How Much Is It Worth?". Make sure you use proper condition language as outlined in the 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
    Saturday, 1/22/22, 8:00 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Unusual set

    On Saturday, January 22, 2022, 02:33:22 PM EST, Andrew wrote:
    Mahjong question - unusual material combination?
    Dear Tom,
    Recently I've received this mahjong set from a friend, he said that he has inherited it from his father a few years ago and he claimed that he father bought it new brand new back then (around 50's or 60's. I've a few questions about it. The set appear to be made from bone or horn + ebony on the back, but I'm not 100% sure of that.
    The set is missing the papers with the rules and aparently missing 2 from the original dices.
    The game has:
    140 tiles
    87 sticks
    5 dices (only 2 from original game)
    Tiles are around 24mm * 18mm * 12mm
    There're unusual things found in this game:
    There is 140 tiles in the set, there is no flower nor season tiles nor AKA DORA
    There is no wind dealer
    The betting sticks are all made from plastic with handmade markings and all are coloured (blue, white, yellow, green, brown and wine)
    The painting of the tiles are dull, only black and red.
    My questions about the game are:
    - What do you think the tiles are made of?
    - Do you think the tiles are incomplete?
    - The sticks are made from plastic, is that right? I thought all the sticks from old games were made from bone or some sort of ivory only.
    - Why the carving looks so simple and very few colors?
    - Do you think the set is legit, maybe pieces changed over time or fake?
    - How much do you think it's worth?
    Regards,
    Andrew

    Hi, Andrew. You asked:

    What do you think the tiles are made of?
    I have no way of knowing that without seeing it. Have you read FAQ 7c: "What Are They Made Of?"?

    Do you think the tiles are incomplete?
    I would need to see the set laid out as shown in FAQ 7b: "Do I Have All the Tiles I'm Supposed To?".

    The sticks are made from plastic, is that right?
    You already said they were made of plastic.

    Why the carving looks so simple and very few colors?
    I don't know.

    How much do you think it's worth?
    I can't even guess without proper pictures and proper condition descriptions of all the set's components. See FAQ 7h: How Much Is It Worth?". Make sure you use proper condition language as outlined in the 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
    Saturday, 1/22/22, 4:50 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Ivory towers

    Mah-Jongg Question
    On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 10:23:51 PM EST, <onslow wrote:
    Hi Tom,
    I learned to play Mah-Jongg about a year ago. The group I play with do not do a Charleston or use walls. They use ‘towers’. We start the game by drawing 13 face down tiles from the center. We also choose 6 stacks (towers) of 3 and place them in front of our racks. We place the 13 tiles in our rack and analyze them. From there we can discard 3 of those tiles and replace them with a tower. This goes on until the end of the towers. There are various options as to if you do not want to continue looking at towers and beginning the towers at all. I have searched for written rules on this variation of the game and have not found any mention of it. My group learned this method from one of our neighbors and it actually kept some of the players interested in the game because they felt that the Charleston thing was boring and a waste of time. They prefer to get on with playing. It’s difficult for me to have an opinion because I have never played any other way.
    Are you familiar with what I described? Can you direct me to more information about this method? What is your opinion about this method?
    Thank you,
    Amy - Florida

    Interesting, Amy! People come up with all kinds of table rules. I never heard of that one before. So they don't like the Charleston, and I guess they don't like walls either. See the three rules on table rules; your group can do whatever they want. Hopefully, you will be able to adapt to the traditional walls and Charleston when you play with another group!
    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
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022 10:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I think his price is kinda high, part 3

    Re: Old mahjong set question / avaliation
    On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 09:37:12 PM EST, Marshall L wrote:
    I saw in just right now, thank you very much. And btw yeah I've forgot to tell the tile measures, they're 24 * 16 * 12 mm.

    Hi Marshall,
    Yes, as I thought. Smaller than the usual bone and bamboo tiles of the early 1920s. That type of set is genuine (late 1920s to 1930s or 40s) but priced much too high.
    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
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 10:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I think his price is kinda high, part 2

    On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 04:55:59 PM EST, Marshall L wrote:
    Re: Old mahjong set question / avaliation
    Hello,
    Sorry for delay on reply, I don't know why but the message was in the spam folder.
    I've sent the pics but they were around 1.2MB to 2.1MB each, I'm making them smaller so they can go through inline on the message
    Sorry once more for the trouble, thank you.

    Hi Marshall,
    I wish I knew the dimensions of the tiles. Usually, tiles that come in that type of box are smaller than the traditional size. Those big plastic wind discs definitely do not belong with the set, and it has only one die (it's missing dice), and the seller has not provided a picture of the booklet. That box is original, but it's not in great condition and has no carving on the lid. The carving on the One Bam tiles and the animal flower tiles is very nice, so this set may be worth more than similar sets, but it is definitely not worth over $400. And I see condition issues on the closeups of the tiles (Haversian system lines or dirt). I can't tell you how much you ought to pay for it because I don't have enough information. My recommendation is to pass this one.
    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
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 6:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I inherited a set, part 2

    On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 03:22:25 PM EST, Sue M wrote:
    valuation for mahjongg set
    Hi Tom,
    Thank you for the answer to my question about the Flowers in my set a couple days ago. As followup, I have attempted to put together the information you suggested in your set description checklist and hope that you can give me an estimate of the valuation of the set.
    The attached photo shows the 162 tiles included in this set. These tiles are in what I would consider mint or near mint condition… no scratches or damage. The tiles are 1 and 3/16 inches high.
    This set was bought by my Mother in the late 50’s or early 60’s and played occasionally during that time but has been in dry storage since about 1965. There is no mildew.
    As you identified in my earlier email question, this set has two different flower varieties.. one appears to be occupations/jobs and there are 12 of these. The other appears to be Royalty and there are also 12 of these but they are missing several 2’s. They are both pictured above in entirety. A few larger samples are shown below.
    The set contains :
    - 2 jokers, but as you indicated joker stickers could be bought and added to the extra flower tiles in the set
    - a set of dice and a rotatable wind disk that has numbers rather than Chinese characters in it.
    - and a book in good condition titled “That’s It, How to Play MahJongg” by Dorothy S. Meyerson, Fifteenth Revised Edition, dated 1955/1956.
    The set is in a leather look case in decent condition with an E.S.Lowe NY , Exclusive LOWE Creation tag in the top left hand corner of the lid. It has a few white paint marks on the top of case. It has brass latches with locks but there is no key to the case.
    Hopefully I’ve provided the information you need to value this set.
    Thank you
    Sue

    Sue, the evaluation I'm giving you is unreliable because you did not use standard condition terms. You say the book (not pictured) is in "good" condition, and the case is in "decent" condition and the tiles are "mint or near mint" condition. From the photo of the outside of the case, it looks like there are flaws or abrasions. You didn't say what condition the wind indicator, dice, chips, and racks are, or how many chips there are. I'm going to guess that the set is in Very Fine condition: "Item may have chips, dings, dents, cracks or scratches and maintains 80 to 85% of new condition." And I'm going to guess that you could get between $150 to $250 for the set. Good luck with the sale!
    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
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 5:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She always plays the same hand!

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 01:36:16 PM EST, Anna A wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I play with someone who is always playing the same hand. I told her that she should look at other hands to play so she could learn the card. She said she can’t help it if she continues to get the same tiles. I see that she throws tiles out that she could indeed make other hands. And of course she keeps getting mahjong. Am I wrong?
    Sent from my iPad

    Anna, why does this bother you? You say she "keeps getting mahjong," and she keeps playing, so she must be enjoying the game. If you know she always makes the same hand, you know how to defend (how not to give her her winning tile). But what I want to know is, what hand is she always making? Must be a good hand if she wins on it so much!
    This reminds me of the man I played with many years ago. He always played Consec #2. The two ladies we played with used to yell at him for not playing other hands on the card, but I didn't see his habit as a problem. He still won now and then, and he seemed to be enjoying the game. He never won off a discard from me if he had two exposures, because with two exposures I knew what his hot tiles were, better than with one exposure. Consec #2 is the easiest hand to make, and I wonder if that's what hand your friend makes.
    I think you and your friend would enjoy the game more if you would just let her play the way she wants to 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
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 2:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I think his price is kinda high

    On Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 02:30:09 PM EST, Marshall L wrote:
    Old mahjong set question / avaliation
    Hello OOO, how have you been?
    I'm kinda new into mahjong world and I've bought a few sets until now. Recently I've found in my country a set claimed to be
    made of bone & bamboo. The seller said it has around 100 years and he is asking around US$445 for it, I don't know well, but
    I think his price is kinda higher than what it worths. I know it's kinda nonsense of my part to ask that, but could you
    please take a look on the pics of his set and tell me how much do you think its worth? Supposing to have all pieces in a
    very good condition, none broken nor missing nor damaged or heavy dirt somehow.
    Also I've noticed his set has 152 pieces, would be 144 from a normal chinese + 4 extra blank + 4 ducks, which they would be
    jokers?
    And instead 4 seasons and 4 flowers, it has 4 animals and 4 other pieces with people, I don't know, what would be that?
    Notes about the set:
    - 152 pieces (standard chinese game 144 + 4 extra blank + 4 ducks [jokers?] )
    - 8 wind disks (4 medium, 4 small)
    - No score sticks
    - Pretty sure the wooden box it's just an ordinary wooden box, I don't believe the box from the pic is the original from the
    game
    - He said he has a rule booklet but no pics of it so far so I don't know
    I'm planning to buy it, but first I'd like to know what you think, how much do you think it's worth on that condition I've
    said? Does the game look complete?
    I'm attaching the pics I've of it, thanks in advance.
    001.png
    002.png
    003.png
    004.png
    005.png
    006.png
    007.png
    008.png
    009.png
    010.png

    It sounds too high to me, Marshall. You didn't send me photos I can see and use (those are links to Google Drive, and this email address doesn't match my Google account). It's too much work for me to follow links and download photos, even if the links work. If you send me the actual photos rather than links to the photos, I can look at them and use them here. But for now, I do not recommend you pay that asking price.
    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
    January 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I inherited a set

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, January 17, 2022, 05:00:16 PM EST, Sue M wrote:
    My mah-jongg question is:
    I inherited a Mah-Jong set from my Mother who I believe purchased and played with this set in the 1940’s. I do not play Mah-Jong myself so I thought I would try to sell it. However, I can’t figure out the tiles. It doesn’t have any of the Flowers Tiles but has a couple groups of tiles I can’t find in any of the sets online. These are the ones on the top right of picture. Can you tell me what these other tiles are and is this a full set of tiles that someone could play with? Is there a name for these tiles? Any idea if I could sell this set? It comes in a nice case with the 5 Bakelite racks.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Sue

    Hi, Sue! You asked:

    I can’t figure out the tiles. It doesn’t have any of the Flowers Tiles
    Yes, it does. It has 24 flowers (those "mystery" tiles at upper right). See the Mystery Flowers FAQ.

    is this a full set of tiles that someone could play with?
    Yes. It was intended for American-style play in the early 1960s, since it has 2 jokers (see Column 509). Today's American rules require 8 flowers and 8 jokers, so the buyer of your set would need to sticker some of the flowers to make more jokers. See FAQ 7B.

    Is there a name for these tiles?
    You can just call it a Mah-Lowe Bakelite set (the name is printed on the jokers).

    Any idea if I could sell this set?
    Sure. See Tips For Sellers.

    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
    Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2022. Monday, January 17, 6:45 PM.
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Somebody called for a discard, part 2

    On Saturday, January 15, 2022, 05:21:22 PM EST, Sally L wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you!
    ................................
    Sally L

    You're welcome, Sally!
    Tom


    Somebody called for a discard, interrupting the order of play...

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, January 15, 2022, 12:40:42 PM EST, sally l wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    It is my turn to play, I pick a tile from the wall, and before I have racked it another player calls for the last discarded tile. Do I keep the tile I have picked? Whose turn is it after the other player takes the discarded tile and discards another tile?

    Hi, Sally! You asked:

    before I have racked it another player calls for the last discarded tile. Do I keep the tile I have picked?
    No. You put it back on the wall.

    Whose turn is it after the other player takes the discarded tile and discards another tile?
    Play always progresses to the right (counterclockwise) from the last player to make a play. Your turn was skipped by the caller. Don't be mad about that - it's normal, it happens to everybody, and caused by everybody at some point.

    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
    Saturday, January 15, 2022, 1:30 Eastern
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Somebody discarded a redeemable tile! Part 3

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, January 14, 2022, 11:59:04 PM EST, Glenda R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    A player had an exposure of 2 – 8 Craks and 1 Joker. Later she drew an 8 Crak and discarded it rather than replacing her Joker with it. Can any other player pick up the 8 Crak and replace her Joker with it.

    No, Glenda. A discarded redeemable tile cannot be claimed and redeemed. Down is dead. Read FAQ 19-G2. It's rule 5 on page 23 of the National Mah Jongg League's official rulebook. Every table should have the official rulebook on hand. In the absence of the rulebook, you can bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference; it answers all the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg 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
    Saturday, January 15, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Which way to: Deal, play, pass dice, walls come out?

    On Thursday, January 13, 2022, 05:49:05 PM EST, Sandy W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Which way to:
    Deal, play, pass dice, walls come out?
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Sandy!
    I think this is what you're asking?


    ● Dealing is explained in the Dealing section of FAQ 19.
    ● Play order and walls order is explained in FAQ 19-Q ("Counterclockwise, clockwise? I'm so confused!").
    ● Where the dice go after a hand is completed is explained in FAQ 19-DD.

    More questions? If you can't find them in FAQ 19, ask and ye shall get answers!
    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
    Thursday, January 13, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Stumped on how to clean dirty tiles

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, January 12, 2022, 11:49:15 PM EST, Laury T wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I just added a 1960’s? set of aqua tiles for American play to my collection. They are plastic and have a nice shine to them. Unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of dirt on the faces of each tile. I’ve never seen tile faces that look this way. It almost looks the residue that a sticker might leave behind, but it’s smooth. I thought perhaps they’re decals. I used a q-tip and alcohol which easily removed the dirt, but also took paint off. Next I used a q-tip with Scrubbing Bubbles. It was more difficult to clean the face dirt and still took off paint. The sides and back are easily cleaned. This is terribly frustrating and I’m stumped. What do you recommend I use and how should I do it?
    Thank you so very much!
    Laury T.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Laury,
    All the tips I have are those I've collected from other readers and from Sandy Beach, who created the foundation of the bulletin boards on this site. See FAQ 7-o. You have learned that alcohol dissolves the paint. If I was using cotton swab sticks, I would be careful not to swab alcohol in the painted grooves. If the painted grooves are dirty, maybe dampen a swab with water? Maybe water with a tiny amount of dish detergent? You could test that on a tile that has already lost some of its paint. FAQ 7-o also includes some tips on painting. 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
    Thursday, January 13, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    When two players both call the same discard

    On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 08:35:59 PM EST, Anne L wrote:
    Rule Change Question
    I cannot find the answer to this question the National Mah Jongg League website:
    A player said there was a recent rule change such that the first player to call and rack a discarded tile gets it regardless of whether a player next in turn wants it. Is this correct? It's now a question of speed?
    Anne L

    The rule is on the back of the card, Anne. See rule #2.

    The player next in turn from the discarder gets the tile, unless another player has already exposed. That does not mean that it's a race. And it does not mean it's cool to "slam-expose" to get the jump on the next in turn. If you want more information on this, read FAQ 19-H - all of it (H1, H2, H3... and, of course, rules 2-4 on the back of the 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
    Tuesday, 1/11/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two people called the same tile for mahj

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 05:30:09 PM EST, Jill B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A tile is thrown by the person in the east seat. The player to the right whose turn is next quickly declares she has maj in her hand (without the thrown tile) and basically at the same time, perhaps a split second later, the player to the left of east calls the thrown tile for maj.
    Who gets the maj?
    We play with 14 tiles, fyi.
    Thanks.
    Jill B
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Jill,
    Like it says in rule 4 on the back of the card, player next in turn after the discarder takes precedence.

    But wait... when you said "We play with 14 tiles," does that mean you pick ahead (in violation of rule 1 on the back of the card)? If somebody picked ahead, then I don't know what effect that might have on the answer to your question.
    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
    Tuesday, 1/11/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me win? (FAQ 19-CV)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, January 9, 2022, 08:40:38 PM EST, ralna wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    I was not allowed to Maj with 2 flowers , 3 one bams, 3 two bams, 3 red dragons and 1 soap with 2 jokers.
    What am I missing? I’m happy to send you a screen shot, if necessary.
    Ralnabelle77

    Ralnabelle, what are the chances that the screenshot will show that you had one or more exposures? Consec #8 is a Concealed hand. Apparently, your game does not allow you to make a fatal move.
    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
    Sunday, January 9, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Somebody discarded a redeemable tile! Part 2

    On Sunday, January 9, 2022, 10:39:00 AM EST, Judi K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: My husband and I have recently learned the game, and often play Mah Jongg together, just the two of us. Last night I was waiting for a tile to complete a pair, which would then give me a Mah Jongg. Instead of the tile I needed, I drew a 7 Bam. My husband had an Exposed Kong of 7 Bams, one was a joker. He called the 7-Bam tile I discarded, replaced his Joker in the Exposed Kong, and then used that Joker to complete his Mah Jongg. Was that a legal move?
    I look forward to your thoughts.
    Cheers,
    Judi

    Hi, Judi!
    A redeemable tile can be claimed only to create a new set for exposure or mah-jongg. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker. See FAQ 19-G2.
    I suggest you bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference; it answers all the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg 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
    Sunday, January 9, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Countin' flowers on the wall

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, 09:53:30 PM EST, Bob W wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: in the opening of Chinese mah jong, if a player has two flowers in his initial drawn hand and then proceeds to pick two cards from the dead or kong wall(one of which is flower) , does he immediately draw another card from dead or kong wall, or does he wait till other players after him draw their replacement cards for having also drawn flowers.
    Thanks,
    Bob W

    Hi, Bob! Flower replacements are drawn immediately. I was in a tournament in China. I exposed my flower and announced, "hua" (pronounced "hwa," not "hoo-ah") and took a tile from the back end of the wall. It was a flower so I put it down and said, "hua" and took another from the back end. It was also a flower. "Hua." A little chuckle went up around the table, because that happens sometimes, due to the number of flower tiles and the vagaries of chance. Finally I picked a non-flower. I gestured to the player on my right that they could now take their flower replacements, if any. The game has to wait until each player, in turn, is done replacing flowers. That don't bother me at all.
    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
    Sunday, January 9, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    This game's UI is so annoying!

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, 11:33:36 AM EST, ralna wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    Why do I have to hit skip each time instead of just passing?
    Thanks for your help
    Rb

    Two possible reasons, ralna:
    1. That game defaults to auto-pass (auto-skip) Off, or;
    2. That's how that game was programmed (there is no auto-skip option).
    Maybe a reader of this board can help, if you tell us which game you play. (There are seven that I know of, assuming you play American mah-jongg. Most of them do not have an auto-pass feature.)
    Next time you have a question about a computer game, I wrote an article on how to get technical support for a computer game. I hope the article helps. I do not provide customer support for any computer game.
    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
    Saturday, January 8, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Sloperama supportarama

    On Tuesday, January 4, 2022, 06:07:49 AM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
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    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
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    Thank you for your continuing support, Evelyn. Happy new year!
    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
    Tuesday, January 4, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Happy New Year!

    On Monday, January 3, 2022, 06:49:12 PM EST, <lindaz... wrote:
    Happy New Year!
    Hi Tom,
    I just wanted to wish you Happy 2022! I hope this year is more healthy for everyone and we can soon return to "normal". Thanks for all you do to keep the MJ community happy and on track. We have felt pretty discouraged the past 2 years but you have been a breath of fresh air with your efforts to encourage us to continue this wonderful game. Some in my group have dropped out, either from fear of contagion or other reasons. Thanks for all you do to keep us sane:>) Hope next year is better--
    With gratitude, Linda

    Thank you, Linda. It's good to hear from you. I hope this year will be better for all of us.
    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
    Monday, January 3, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Somebody discarded a redeemable tile! Can I grab it?

    On Saturday, January 1, 2022, 11:37:58 AM EST, Ruth D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    If I am showing a pong of 5 cracks, using a joker, and a another player does not see the joker, and throws a 5 crack on the table...can I pick it up?

    It depends, Ruth. Are you going to claim it to make a second pung of 5 craks? See FAQ 19-G.2 - a redeemable tile can be claimed only to create a new set for exposure or mah-jongg. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker.
    You might want to bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference; it answers all the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you in the new year.
    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
    Saturday, January 1, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Looking for an older post? Just click the link below! When the board grows too large, older postings are archived so as to keep this bulletin board lean and quicker to load. The archive goes back several years, and it's real easy to access older questions and answers!

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


      Color key


        • Green = a happy email from a grateful reader.
        • DarkBlue = an FAQ, a question that's been asked and answered frequently.
        • Purple = an less-than-happy email from a reader with a complaint.
        • Red = a forbidden technical support question about a computer game.
        • Orange = an out-of-the-ordinary email.
        • Black = none of the above. Regular mah-jongg question or comment: one that is not an FAQ, neither happy nor unhappy.


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