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The 2021 NMJL Card (FAQ 16-2021)
American Mah-Jongg Rules (FAQ 19)
Strategy Column
General Strategy Tips (FAQ 8)

Computer Games (FAQ 5)
Why wouldn't the computer let me win?
Tech Support for Computer Games (FAQ 24)

How Much Is My Set Worth? (FAQ 7-H)
How Old Is My Set? (FAQ 7-G)
What Are My Tiles Made Of?(FAQ 7-C)
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The Mah-Jongg FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

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

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The Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board


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

  • When you're ready to ask your question, email your question to TomSloperama.com. I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only. I don't take mah-jongg questions via telephone, snailmail, semaphore, Morse code, or smoke signal. Also don't send your question to me via carrier pigeon. What am I supposed to do with a pigeon? I'm a city apartment dweller. And you should see the rules they got here! </rant>
  • After you submit your comment or question, return to this board sometime later to see the response (below) - and keep coming back to see followup discussions. I don't do private Q&A; all answers are posted below.
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  • Terms of Service and Privacy Policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum.
  • Your email may or may not be edited before posting. No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes your permission for your words to be made public. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.) Your last name and email address will usually be omitted (exceptions: Find Players/Teachers posts, buyer/seller posts, and event organizer posts).
  • The first time someone asks a question here, I send a reply email to let you know that you should come back and see your answer. If your email address is protected by a service that wants me to click a link and prove myself to be human, I don't click the link. You'll need to check back here to find your answer.
  • Rules: No shouting, please. Typing in all capital letters is considered "shouting." Nobody is allowed to shout here but me! (^_^) If your question or comment is typed in all capital letters, it will be converted to all lower case before being posted here with my reply.
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  • Please note that this site is NOT associated with the National Mah Jongg League. Although questions about the League's card and rules are welcome here, please read FAQ 16 and FAQ 19 to see if your question is answered there.

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


    Not tax-deductible

    The Q&As are below.


  • Donation, part 2

    On Monday, April 12, 2021, 07:50:54 PM PDT, Marsha C wrote:
    Re: mic... sent you money
    Love all of your columns. I read your Q&A column almost daily. I can’t imagine how many hours you spend working on the New Card Column every year. Hopefully my donation will encourage others to consider donating $10 or $20 or whatever amount. Thanks again for a great job.
    Marsha C.

    Wonderful, thanks again, Marsha!


    Please settle this argument

    Facebook
    Lance Lim Kah Hong
    Hi I am trying to contact you to ask you a mahjong question, can you respond to my facebook message please? Thank you so much!
    Facebook Messenger
    Lance Lim Kah Hong
    Facebook
    You're not friends on Facebook
    1 mutual friend: Scott Miller
    Sun 3:09 AM
    Lance sent Yesterday at 3:09 AM
    Hi Tom Sloper, I am a Mahjong Youtuber based in Singapore https://youtube.com/c/MahjongKorkor
    I was recommended to you by Nicolas Giaconia, due to your wide knowledge of mahjong history. Hoping to get your advice on the following...
    Recently, I am addressing a serious misconception in the Singapore Mahjong Community and would like to seek your opinions. They claim that 13 Wonders should be allowed to snatch a self-drawn win, since it is already able to snatch a concealed kong.
    Now mahjong is a very "house rule"-heavy game in Singapore, but these people are claiming that this is an international rule! Very interesting, since most of them have never even played mahjong outside of Singapore. Is it true that such a rule exists in other variants of mahjong?
    Furthermore, in Singapore Mahjong, the rules do not require someone to display his self-drawn winning tile. And then these people claim that someone who is waiting for 13 wonders should be allowed to ask what is the self-drawn tile. And the person who self-drew must have integrity in answering the question. If he/she does not answer, then the 13 wonders hand can snatch any tile from the winning hand if it completes the 13 wonders.
    Just hoping to get your opinions on how illogical this is because I am so tired having to educate these jokers.
    Thank you so much!
    XMA Header Image
    Mahjong Korkor - YouTube
    youtube.com

    Hi, Lance. I'm sorry that I do not give private answers to mah-jongg questions. I answer mah-jongg questions in public forums only. You wrote:

    They claim that 13 Wonders should be allowed to snatch a self-drawn win, since it is already able to snatch a concealed kong. ... these people are claiming that this is an international rule! Is it true that such a rule exists in other variants of mahjong?
    It's true that 13 Orphans is a feature of numerous mah-jongg variants, and that a player can "chit" a kong tile to win on 13 Orphans in numerous variants. It's a codicil to the "Robbing the Kong" rule, it only happens at the time that the kong is being melded. It's mentioned at singaporemahjong.com/rules/
    But I don't recall ever hearing that someone waiting on 13 Orphans can "rob" or "chit" someone's self-picked winning tile in any variant. "I win." "No, you don't. I win. Give me that tile." My memory could be wrong. Can any of these people name a specific variant that permits this? Because if they name a specific variant, an investigation can ensue, and the argument can be proved or disproved.

    Furthermore, in Singapore Mahjong, the rules do not require someone to display his self-drawn winning tile.
    Interesting. And that does strengthen your point of view. In variants when it matters what the winning tile is, it's almost always a rule that the winning tile must be clearly specified by the winner. It's usually a rule that that winning tile must not be mixed in among the winner's hand but set apart when displaying the completed hand. The one rule necessitates the existence of the other rule.

    And then these people claim that someone who is waiting for 13 wonders should be allowed to ask what is the self-drawn tile. And the person who self-drew must have integrity in answering the question. If he/she does not answer, then the 13 wonders hand can snatch any tile from the winning hand if it completes the 13 wonders.
    You said mahjong is a very "house rule"-heavy game in Singapore, so it's certainly possible that some houses use this rule. In my opinion, some table rules cause bad feelings, so are therefore bad rules.

    If there's going to be a house rule that permits chitting a self-picked win, then there has to be a house rule that the winning tile must always be displayed separately from the winning hand. Rules have to be internally consistent and fair if the game is to be harmonious.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. The above was edited a couple hours after posting, to correct an error. - Tom


    Donation

    On Monday, April 12, 2021, 01:12:59 PM PDT, Marsha C via PayPal <service@paypal wrote:
    mic... sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    PayPal
    You were sent $100.00 USD from mic...
    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
    Apr 12, 2021 13:12:47 PDT
    Buyer information
    Marsha C
    mic...
    Instructions from buyer
    Add a message to Sloperama Mah-Jongg Ans
    Description Unit price Qty Amount
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama
    Total: $100.00 USD
    PayPal

    Wow, thank you very much, Marsha!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can she pick up that redeemable tile, part 2

    On Monday, April 12, 2021, 07:40:48 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from bonnie b
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $5.00 USD from bonnie b
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $5.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: bonnie b
    Message: Add a message to Sloperama Mah-Jongg Ans
    PayPal

    Thank you, Bonnie!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Can she pick up that redeemable tile?

    On Monday, April 12, 2021, 03:40:10 AM PDT, bonnie j b wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: East had showing 2 five bamboo and joker. I was south. I was waiting for either a five or a nine (both were for pairs different suits). It ended up that my only discards I could throw were 2 five bamboo. I discarded one of the five bamboo. East was going to pick it up but the person who was north and was teaching myself and the person who was east said east could not pick up my discard to replace her joker. Could east have picked up my discard to replace her joker?
    Thank you

    Your teacher was correct, bonnie. See FAQ 19-G. A discarded redeemable tile may not be taken for the purpose of joker redemption. A discarded redeemable tile may only be taken to make a new 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
    April 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I never received card

    On Sunday, April 11, 2021, 09:07:05 AM PDT, Rosalie L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:I paid for a new Mac Jong card on Feb 19. The check was cashed and I never received card. Unfortunately I don’t have my membership number although Ive been a member for 50 years. What should I do?
    Rosalie L

    Rosalie, I can't help you. The card comes from the National Mah Jongg League, not from sloperama.com. I am not the person to complain to. I would assume that your card will arrive in due course. The League has a lot of orders to process, and I hear everyone there is still working from home. They can't just drop hundreds of thousands of cards in the corner mailbox, done and dusted - I imagine it takes time to fill all those orders. A little patience is called for, in my opinion.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 11, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 741

    On Saturday, April 10, 2021, 09:15:04 PM PDT, Peggy A wrote:
    caught ya
    In today’s strategy column you had this sentence: “If nines: Consec #6 or 369 #3”. This is incorrect, of course, nines cannot be a pung in Consec number 6.
    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

    Quite right, Peggy! I'll make a fix to the column. But re-reading that part of the column, it appears I've missed Any Like Numbers #3, which is not a concealed hand. So there are 16 exposable non-wind two-pung hands, and I had to rewrite the paragraph. Thanks for spotting that error! It led me to another.
    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
    April 11, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When can I redeem a joker? What's the procedure?

    On Saturday, April 10, 2021, 09:13:21 AM PDT, Andrea Y wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    It was my turn and the player before me had just thrown a tile that I wanted to pick up for an exposure.
    But, I couldn’t pick it up unless I first exchanged another tile in my hand for a joker that was exposed on someone else’s wall.
    Am I allowed to trade my tile in my hand for the joker first, which then allows me to pick up the thrown tile and use it and the just-traded joker in an exposure on my rack?
    To be clear, if I can’t trade my tile in my hand for the joker first, I do not already have in my hand what I need to pick up the discarded tile. I need that joker in order to pick up the tile.
    Thanks!
    Andrea

    Hi, Andrea. See FAQ 19-M. You have to hold 14 tiles in your hand before you may redeem a joker atop anyone's rack. You can't have that discard you want so badly. Should have redeemed the joker prior, if possible.
    This is a thing that can happen at the worst possible time - you are one tile away from being ready for mah-jongg. You realize you could have redeemed a joker, which would have made you ready for mah-jongg. You think, "I'll catch it next time around." But you know you're in danger of not getting the tile you need (three of them are already out), if you're not ready in time. Then the player before you throws that one tile. And you can't have it because you didn't redeem the joker when you had the chance.
    It happens.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Donations appreciated
    April 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me call?

    On Friday, April 9, 2021, 04:32:08 PM PDT, PAUL E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I was going for any like numbers
    FF 1111 NEWS 1111
    I had in my hand EWS and it wouldn’t allow me to call
    For N ? Why

    Did you also have your pair of flowers, Paul? Did you also have both number kongs complete? Read FAQ 19-CT
    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
    April 9, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A player doesn't want to dance the Charleston

    On Friday, April 9, 2021, 02:12:09 PM PDT, Anne Marie C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    When playing American Mahjogg, can the Charleston be eliminated if a player does not want to do it?
    Anne
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    Read the back of the card, Anne. The first Charleston is "compulsory." Read the rulebook (latest edition): the only exception is if the dealer has a complete valid mah-jongg hand before the Charleston begins. I wrote about "Heavenly hand" in column #666.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 9, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are the boards for?

    On Friday, April 9, 2021, 04:51:42 AM PDT, Gayle S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: what are the boards for in Mahjong online? When I tap on one, nothing changes

    If you send me a screenshot, I might be able to answer, but that's not a guarantee. Might be better to contact the maker of your game software.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 9, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. Might be a change in the tabletop graphics. You might see a different look after starting a new game. Just a guess. By the way, you never said which mah-jongg software you play. - Tom


    The 2021 card, part 13 (part 5 redux)

    On Thursday, April 8, 2021, 03:09:38 PM PDT, Saretta K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A 2021 Card
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Our group has a question about the second hand down under winds and dragons….do the odd number go only with NNN SSS and evens with EEE WWW or can you play all evens or odds with either NS or EW?
    Thank you.
    sk
    Saretta K
    “For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it…if only we're brave enough to be it.” – Amanda Gorman, 1/20/2021

    Hi, Saretta,
    As I told Cecile on March 31 (below): The old tradition is that East and Even both begin with the same letter, so East and West are always even, and North and South are always odd. So, no. You can't switch up odd or even.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. I've now added this to FAQ 16-2021. - Tom


    Rule 16 (Suzhou mah-jongg - the "dumpling" fan), part 4

    On Thursday, April 8, 2021, 08:17:41 AM PDT, Petr M wrote:
    Suzhou mahjong fan
    Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    I believe I solved this problem with "dumplings" fan finally (from Suzhou mahjong rules, see our February correspondence). I remind the text of that fan:
    16. "Making dumplings": one player pays triple sum for feeding into a kong, count "winning with replacement tile" here.
    My suggestion here is that "making dumplings" talks about winning after declaring a big melded kong ("da ming gang" in Chinese, "daiminkan" in Japanese). It happens when you discard a fresh tile (that was not discarded before, "shompai" in Riichi terms), and another player takes it for a kong, and then wins from the replacement for that kong. As long as winning with the replacement tile is treated as a "self-drawn" victory, each player must pay the cost of mahjong, but in this special case the total sum, i.e. 3 costs of mahjong, is taken from the player fed into that big melded kong. Think of it as kind of a penalty for discarding a fresh tile. I also noticed that Chinese like kongs and everything around them, that's why there are fans like "robbing a kong", "winning with the replacement tile", "winning from discard after declaring a kong", "winning with the replacement tile from the second kong in a row" etc. Maybe I will collect all these kong fans one day.
    With best regards,
    Petr

    Your suggestion makes a lot of sense, Petr. Thanks for this!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    On Sunday, April 4, 2021, 03:29:36 AM PDT, service@paypal.com wrote:
    You received a payment
    paypal Apr 4, 2021 03:29:20 PDT
    You received a payment
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name: Evelyn H
    Subscription details
    Amount received: $10.00 USD
    For: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Sincerely,
    PayPal

    Thank you, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Donations appreciated
    April 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Where can I find other players

    On Thursday, April 8, 2021, 12:07:04 PM PDT, Susan M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    IMy mah-jongg question or comment is:WherecanIfindother MJ playersinFlorida?My email is [deleted]

    Not on my website, Susan. I am not facilitating meetups until Dr. Fauci tells us the pandemic is over.
    Play safely and stay healthy!
    Tom


    Why did they call it "The Charleston"?

    On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 09:14:42 PM PDT, Carol J wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:. I have never seen anything explaining the original of the "Charelston". Could you please explain how it was incorporated into the American style of Mah Jongg?
    Carol J
    Mah Jongg Enthusiast and Instructor
    Rock On

    As I explained on page 7 of my book, mah-jongg's popularity first arose in the Roaring Twenties (a hundred years ago) when the Charleston was popular. The intricate exchanges of tiles are like a dance. The Watusi hadn't been invented yet, so the founders of the NMJL called it the Charleston.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. If I didn't answer your question, please email me again and I'll give it another shot. - Tom


    Why wouldn't the computer let me win?

    On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 03:09:33 PM PDT, Eileen B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I had a beautiful mahjongg with a 50 pt score and Real Majongg would not let me call mahjongg! The last tile was one I drew. What could be the reason I couldn’t score the Mahjongg?
    Eileen

    囧 Sorry, Eileen, I can't possibly know if I can't see the tiles. Send me a screenshot, and I can probably tell what happened. By the way, this website is not associated with RealMahJongg in any way. But maybe FAQ 19-CV will offer other insights into 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
    April 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Wagon peeler

    On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 01:19:47 PM PDT, Lorie M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    What is the phrasing supposed to be for “WAAGON PPPLEEER” on the 2021 card?
    Thank you, Lorie

    囧 Sorry, Lorie. I'm not familiar with that card. Check the card's fine print for how to contact its creator.
    Oh, wait. If you were typing using a mah-jongg font, the font did not come through in your email.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the wagons peel for you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My card hasn't arrived

    On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 08:46:16 AM PDT, Judy S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I still haven't received my 2021 card, although I ordered it quite a while back. I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
    My membership # is [deleted]
    I tried calling 212-246-3052, but got a recorded message saying I couldn't call from here.
    Is there a way to call from Canada?
    [Address details deleted]
    All my mail is being forwarded to my new address.
    Thank you

    囧 I'm sorry, Judy, but this website is not associated with the NMJL. I can't help you. I would assume that your card will arrive in due course. The League has a lot of orders to process, and I hear everyone there is still working from home.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the card be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    You can't use jokers in kongs of zeroes, is that correct?

    On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 07:21:49 PM PDT, Pam E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Please confirm that under 2021 category, lines 2 and 3, “0000” can only be four soaps, no jokers....correct?

    No, that's wrong. Jokers may be used freely in any pung, kong, or quint on the card. It says that right on the back of the card. I strongly recommend that every player read everything on the card, every 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
    April 6, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    We haven't received our cards

    On Monday, April 5, 2021, 05:29:43 PM PDT, Cindy B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    My group has not received our cards yet and money and info was sent in on time. Thanks for your help.
    Cindy.b

    Wrong website. You should contact the League. Good luck!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the cards be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 5, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #740

    On Monday, April 5, 2021, 02:16:16 PM PDT, Libby S wrote:
    Column #740
    Hi, Mr. Sloper. I always look forward to your analysis of the card. I do think you should remove the following hand from your pung-kong, pung-kong list since it doesn’t follow that pattern.
    W-D #1
    Cheers,
    Libby

    Well, Libby, you're correct that W-D #1 doesn't show a pung at the left, then a kong and a pung in the middle and a kong at the right. But it is a two-pung / two-kong hand, which means it has no pair. In fact, re-examining the card just now, I find that I overlooked 369 #2, which is yet another two-pung / two-kong hand. I'll make a modification to the column to address your observation. For next week's column I'll go into some strategy implications, so I hope you'll enjoy that one. Thanks for the note!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 5, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 12 (part 10 redux)

    On Monday, April 5, 2021, 11:08:15 AM PDT, Ava L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: in the third hand down in 2021 section it says 1 suit.
    Therefore you must have at least one joker for the “2’s”?

    Yes. See the new FAQ 16 for the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the new 2021 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
    April 5, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I lost to a mystery hand

    On Sunday, April 4, 2021, 04:14:07 PM PDT, Regina W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I lost to this hand 77 8888 dots and 77 8888 bams there were a few jokers in the 8s
    I do not see this hand on the 2021 card.
    Regina W

    Hi, Regina!
    Well, that certainly is a mystery. For one thing, 77 8888 77 8888 is not enough tiles (that's 12 tiles, and a mah-jongg hand must always be 14). For another thing, are you sure your opponent was using the 2021 card? If this occurred on a computer, then maybe the app wasn't using the 2021 card. I would need to see a screenshot of what happened. I recommend learning how to make screenshots, and getting comfortable with their use. But anyway, I'm sorry that I don't have an answer for you.
    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
    Easter Sunday, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are your thoughts on these dumb bot habits, part 2

    On Sunday, April 4, 2021, 09:04:24 AM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    Re: (No Subject)
    Hi Tom,
    I was thinking you would think what I was thinking-- there must be some higher purpose these designers would program these actions into the game. Like some psychic ability to look into the future to justify these moves. As far as I know, this is all voodoo black magic. Or purposeful to allow regular dummies like me a chance to win. Anyway, thanks for the info about computer design.
    Thanks, Linda

    Oh! You're wondering if the programmers intentionally programmed the bots that way. That thought never occurred to me. I doubt there is some higher purpose to making the bots sacrifice jokers like that. But yeah, sometimes we in the industry look at a flaw or bug and rationalize it as "a feature."

    P.S. Of course it is possible that the computer AI knows where all the tiles are. If you want to determine if there's a correlation between "possibly intentional poor joker strategy" and winning, you'd have to keep track of each bot's games. But my guess is that these particular habits you mentioned are flaws in the AI design, nothing more.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are your thoughts on these dumb bot habits?

    On Sunday, April 4, 2021, 07:04:22 AM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    (No Subject)
    Hi Tom,
    I've been playing online at realmahjongg.com for about a year and wanted some insights from you, since you are an experienced game programmer. I've noticed that the computer opponents frequently perform actions I've instructed my students to avoid. E.g.
    1. Calling for flowers early in the game using jokers to complete the kong. Usually the next player will redeem the joker.
    2. Using one or two jokers to complete a pung early in the game, with the same result.
    I'd like to know your thoughts!
    Thanks, Linda

    I think those bots could have been programmed better. I mean, what were you thinking I would think?
    By the way, I would like to dispel a myth. I am not a programmer. I did write a couple of small programs in the early 1980s, but the vast majority of my experience in the video game industry was as a designer and producer. Je répète: I am not a programmer! (If you want to know what the difference is, see https://sloperama.com/advice/lesson7.html#jobtypes.)
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Bunny Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 11

    On Sunday, April 4, 2021, 06:55:33 AM PDT, Kathi K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:On the 2021 card do the 2’s and soaps have to match in the second hand down in the 2021 section?

    Kathi, those are zeroes. The card doesn't say DDDD, it says 0000. Read the red text above the 2021 section: "WHITE DRAGON IS USED AS ZERO '0'. IT MAY BE USED WITH ANY SUIT. (CRAKS, BAMS OR DOTS)
    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
    April 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 10

    On Saturday, April 3, 2021, 08:36:08 PM PDT, Rosemary B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    2021 third hand down FFFF 2222 0000 21 any 1 suit. It seems strange that they would force you to use a joker on a non-quints hand. Is that correct?
    Thank you.

    It doesn't seem strange to me, Rosemary. Forced joker use has been a feature of many past cards. Especially in the "this year" section of the card. For example, in 2015 and 2017, there were hands with two dragon kongs and a 201x, marked "2 or 3 suits," meaning one could use a kong of soaps (which necessitated at least one joker).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Donations appreciated
    April 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is a player allowed to redeem a joker from her own rack?

    On Saturday, April 3, 2021, 02:24:50 PM PDT, Jane S wrote:
    Exposed hand
    If a player has exposed a Kong with two tiles and 2 jokers and later picks up a matching tile, can she put the tile down and take a joker back.
    I have seen rules for both no and yes. Please advise.
    Thanks. Jane

    As I wrote in FAQ 19-M: "you may redeem jokers from atop anyone's rack (including your own)." And read the back of the card: "JOKERS may be exchanged from any and all exposures..."
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Donations appreciated
    April 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When do you start using the 2021 cards? (The 2021 card, part 9)

    On Saturday, April 3, 2021, 05:38:37 AM PDT, S, Garry wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When do you start using the 2021 cards? Thanks Garry

    All four players have to play from the same card. If all four players have the 2021 card, it would be silly not to go ahead and use it. If one or more of the players have only the 2020 card, then all four players have to use the 2020 card. Read FAQ 19-BV.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 8 (part 1 redux)

    On Friday, April 2, 2021, 11:15:49 AM PDT, Cindi Z wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: what is GGGG on new card?

    Read the back of the card, Cindi (where it says "G- Green Dragon"). And read the parenthetical right next to those green Gs - where it says "(Green Dragons Only)".
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A discard was misnamed (part 2)

    On Thursday, April 1, 2021, 06:31:33 PM PDT, Timothy A wrote:
    Followup to question from Randy L.
    Hi Tom - Looking forward to your comments on the new 2021 NMJL card.
    Earlier today a question came up very similar to that asked by Randy L. that you answered earlier this afternoon. One of the comments to the question was -
    "We play that the player who miscalled discard has to give the player the tile they named if it’s in their rack. So, player 1 would have taken the 2bam back and given her a 2 dot”
    Well, I know that is against the NMJL Rules, but didn’t see it clearly spelled out in their rule book or even here on your site. Where might I find the correct answer to what is written above?
    Thanks
    Tim A

    Tim, you seem to be asking "where to find the correct answer to [the table rule] written above?" I wasn't sure what the question was, so I just said to see FAQ 14.

    [Added later:] But upon reflection, Tim, I realized the question might be, "where do we find the actual rule in print from the League." I answered Randy with a link to FAQ 19-AY. When you follow that link you find the source citation: the League's official rulebook. Page 18, rule 6(b). Actually, it's page 19 in the 2020 edition. The "Miscalled tile" rule is also written on the back of the card. Middle pane, first section under the red line of text.
    Hope that answers the question better.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 7 (part 3 redux)

    On Thursday, April 1, 2021, 03:02:38 PM PDT, Randy L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Someone posted to you about the consecutive 1 2 3 hand wanting to know if it was "any" consecutive numbers since there are no parenthesis. Just wanted to pass on that someone from the Modern Mahjongg FB group contacted the NMJL and posted confirmation that due to space constraints, (Any 3 consec nos.) would not fit. And the NMJL intended for this hand to be any consecutive numbers.

    Thanks, Randy. As I figured. I'm sure the NMJL will post this FAQ atop their website shortly.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 6 (part 3 redux)

    On Thursday, April 1, 2021, 02:51:30 PM PDT, Karen wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: on the 2021 card consecutive runs line 5 it does not state any 3 consecutive numbers or only these numbers. What is the rule?

    It's in between all those "any consecutive number" hands, so I think it's safe to assume you can use any consecutive numbers.
    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.
    April 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She asks for double payment

    On Thursday, April 1, 2021, 07:02:53 AM PDT, Cindi U wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is this situation a cause for double payment?
    Player 1 throws a tile. Player 2 calls the tile and exposes a Kong. She then takes a tile from her rack and exchanges it for a joker, and calls maj. Claiming she “picked it herself” because her maj tile was in her rack, she asks for double payment.
    Is this correct? She didn’t pick a tile from the wall —she called a tile thrown by someone else, which wouldn’t lead to double payment. Does the maj tile in her hand justify the double payment?
    Thank you!
    Cindi

    Hi, Cindi! You asked:

    Is this correct?
    Yes. Win by joker redemption constitutes self-pick. Read FAQ 19-AN.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Clickity-click

    On Thursday, April 1, 2021, 02:20:45 AM PDT, Elaine M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can a person pick up a new tile and immediately click the table without clicking on their rack?

    What is all this "clicking" talk? There is no "clicking" in mah-jongg. Whoever taught you that you have to "click" a tile is not teaching the real rules. After you pick a tile (from the wall), you can either rack it or discard it (or redeem a joker with it). Read FAQ 19-BL, the answer to the question "Must I place a picked tile in the rack? May I discard it without racking it?"
    Sounds to me like your table needs a copy of the League's official rulebook.

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


    A discard was misnamed, causing a problem

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 09:50:34 PM PDT, Randy L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I have your Red Dragon & The West Wind book and did not find an answer. Checked your FAQ on your page regarding errors with discards but there is no exact answer to this particular situation and I have never had this happen in the 14 years I’ve been playing American Mahjongg. Its not the normal eyes and ears open situation.
    Player 1 names 2 dot on a discard. Player 2 calls to claim the 2 dot and PICKS UP the 2 dot that was just thrown. (Thought was just thrown). Racks the 2 dot and makes a kung exposure of 2 dots. Then, player 1 says, oh no, I meant 2 bam not a 2 dot and player 3 agrees she threw out a 2 bam even though she called it 2 dot. Player 2 says, I heard you call 2 dot and I picked up the 2 dot not for a second thinking it was anything other than a 2 dot. Player 1 said, the 2 dot was right next to the 2 bam she discarded. Now what? It was not an instant correction by the discarder as it would usually be, it was not for a mahj exposure but player 2 picked up the actual tile she heard discarded. Never had this happen before as the discarder has always made the correction before the exposure.
    We did not know if the player who made the exposure was now dead because she exposed tiles from her hand. Or if the 2 dot would just be put back and continue playing. The game did continue and we allowed the 2 dot to be played in the hand, but have never had this happen and not sure what the answer would be.
    What do you think?
    Randy

    Hi, Randy.
    This is a "misnamed discard, which cascaded into another error" case.
    Player 2 did not pick up the actual discard. It may seem unfair, but Player 2 is dead, and Player 1 is not. The reason is that misnaming the discard is only a costly error for the misnamer if the error causes someone to declare mah-jongg. Player 2 did not watch where Player 1 put her discard, and picked up a dead (covered) discard, not the actual live discard (a tile of an entirely different suit) - and put it atop her rack. Just as you have to be mindful of what you put into your mouth, you have to be mindful of what you put atop your rack.
    See the Discarding, Naming section of FAQ 19. Specifically, see "A discard was misnamed, causing a problem. What now?" (FAQ 19-AY). No penalty to the misnamer for throwing to an exposure (not mah-jongg).
    And as for Player 2, see RDWW page 97: If she exposes tiles from her hand... she commits to making the exposure.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 5

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 06:28:51 PM PDT, Lloyd L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom, on the 2021 card, in Winds- Dragons , for the 2nd hand,
    can we also use evens with NS and odds with EW ?
    Sent from my iPad
    Cecile F. L

    Hi, Cecile. No, you can't. The old tradition is that East and Even both begin with the same letter, so East and West are always even, and North and South are always odd.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 4

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 01:00:02 PM PDT, D Hurd wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    HiMy mah-jongg question or comment is: I just received the 2021 card & noticed a mistake. In the 2021 column, third row down:
    FFFF 2222 0000 21 (any one suit). That would be five 2’s in one suit!
    D. Hurd

    Yes, but there are jokers. So, not a mistake.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 3

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 12:27:02 PM PDT, Val F wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    New 2021 card has an uncertain hand in Consecutive Run, 5th line — says any 1 or 3 suits but doesn’t say you can use any e consecutive numbers. Do you have to use 1, 2, 3?

    It's in between all those "any consecutive number" hands, so I think it's safe to assume you can use any consecutive numbers.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 2

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 10:16:28 AM PDT, Adrienne S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    2021 card. Last hand winds and dragons. Do dragons have to be greens and reds only? Can soaps be used as one of the pungs?
    Thanks,
    Adrienne

    They're not marked G and R, so they're any dragons. Oh, and then there's the parenthetical right there: it says "(Any 2 Dragons)."
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How many players, part 2

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 10:24:32 AM PDT, Paula J wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I was just curious. Nothing beyond curiosity.

    Aw.
    Tom


    How many players do you estimate play MJ in the US?

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 09:37:50 AM PDT, Paula J wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    How many players do you estimate play MJ in the US?
    Thank You
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Paula. I have to wonder why you ask. If you're asking out of idle curiosity, and if you're asking about NMJL rules only, then "somewhere under or around 400,000" (because you're asking how many people are members of the NMJL). If you're asking because you want to embark on some sort of business venture (or if you are curious about more than just NMJL players), then see FAQ 23. By the way, my consulting services are available, if you're contemplating a business venture.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How much should I ask for it, part 2

    On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 05:52:04 PM PDT, Lindsey W wrote:
    Re: Mahjong Set Questions
    Thank you for your response! I did find it interesting that the tiles would be “loose” in the drawers. A Frankenstein set makes more sense. I think I probably paid like $5 for it at the thrift store, so no loss there. :)

    Maybe my valuation is a little high.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    What are the green G's? (The 2021 card, part 1)

    On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 04:29:47 PM PDT, Vickie H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    What are the green G’s on the 2021 card?

    This is explained on the back of the card, where it says "G- Green Dragon." And there's another hint to the right of those green Gs, where it says "Green Dragons Only" in parentheses. (^_^)
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    is tom okay?

    On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 05:06:58 PM PDT, Leslie K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is tom okay? He has not posted in a long time. Really miss his input.
    Leslie K

    Tom's okay, thanks for asking. I guess you're a return column reader looking for Tom's annual review of the card. Well, he just hasn't had a lot to say in the column lately, but he got the 2021 card today. You can expect to see a new column pretty soon 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.
    March 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How much should I ask for it?

    On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 02:38:42 PM PDT, Lindsey W wrote:
    Mahjong Set Questions
    Greetings!
    First off, your website is incredibly informative to someone who knows nothing about Mahjong or Mahjong sets. I discovered it when trying to do my research, and I appreciate the knowledge you’re willing to share here.
    Second, I’m hoping to gather some information to questions regarding a set. I picked this set up at a thrift store probably 5+ years ago because I thought the box was pretty with the intention of learning to play. That hasn’t seemed to happen, and I don’t want to move with it again.
    After researching that people collect this sort of thing, I am thinking of selling it online. I don’t want to overcharge anyone or undersell my find, but if I did find something worth more than what I paid for it, I would obviously like to price it within the realm of fair valuation for my discovery. If it isn’t worth much, it is going to find its way back to the thrift store, so hopefully someone who plays can get use out of it. Either way, doesn’t hurt to ask someone who seems an expert.

    Following FAQ 7h to the best of my ability, with guesses on information on my end highlighted with question marks:
    Note, I have not cleaned the set, aside from brushing some dust off with a soft cloth, since obtaining it.
    Question (1): Do you recommend that sets be cleaned before you purchase them, or do you/other buyers prefer to purchase as-is to evaluate and do repairs/cleaning yourself? The tiles are not badly dirtied, mildewed, or smelly, based on my judgement. On the scale of things, they are clean enough that I’d be willing to put one in my mouth (though I wouldn’t, because why, and choking hazard). But, they do look like a wipe down would do them good. I am aware of your How-To Clean them page; I’m just not sure if it’s actually better to clean them or to wait if selling.

    Contents:
    Tiles – 144 total
    Three dice – one large transparent red one and two tiny white ones
    Box with five drawers, front cover, two unattached heavy metal (brass?) handles

    Detailed list of contents (condition):

    Tiles (Good) – Bone and Bamboo – Length (1 inch), Width (11/16-12/16 inch), Height (7/16 inch), Bone Thickness (2/16 inch in general, 3/16 inch at dovetail)
    Overall the tiles are in good condition, certainly playable. There is a slight yellowing to them, but as mentioned above, they do need a light cleaning and I can’t tell how much of the yellowing is just due to needing to be wiped off vs age/damage. The bamboo all appears to be in decent shape, though due to the natural variation of the bamboo (tiny ridges/valleys), there are thin white lines on the backs of some tiles which indicate them having been slid across the table/rubbed against something (maybe 20% of the tiles). The colors/paint of the tiles all seem in okay shape. Two of the Arabic numerals/Roman letters have smudged off the red dragons. It does look like some of the dovetailed bone pieces have air gaps between the bone and the bamboo (maybe 5-10% of the tiles). I’m unsure if this is actual damage or if this is just how they were made/common due to their age.
    Dots, Bams, Craks [one 6 tile has a small chip in the bone], Winds, Dragons [one white has a small chip in the bone], and Flowers are all complete for a total of 144 tiles. There are no extra tiles.


    Misc –
    One large (Very Good) (3/4 inch) translucent red die; potentially from a 1950s? Bakelite set? as it looks similar to ones I saw in a picture on your site. Very minor scuffs/scratches from use.
    Two tiny (As New) (5/16 inch) white opaque white die; they look and feel like modern plastic but it’s hard to tell. They don’t appear to have any defects I can see, nor are they slightly yellowed like the tiles.
    Set does not contain paper materials, sticks, chips, wind indicators, or racks.


    Box (Good/Fair) –
    Made out of a light colored, fairly lightweight wood that has been stained red/brown. It is decorated with a thin bone inlay/paint/enamel? of birds and flowers. That decoration has been rubbed off in some places. The wood has some minor indentations/scuff marks. The box has one of each handle’s mounting mount thingies still attached, but is missing the other half. I do have the original handles and one half of one of the missing mounting pieces.
    The drawers are secured in the front by a front panel that slides up. This panel has externally protruding Chinese? characters made of bone? that if I had to take a wild guess probably say Mahjong? There is a solid chip taken out of one of the corners, but it does not affect the sliding of the front.
    The drawer shelves inside are, intentionally as far as I can tell, half the depth of the box. The top two shelves are loose enough to slide backwards/forwards. None of them slide out. The drawers are removed by pushing from a hole on the backside and were not made with handles. The drawers themselves are lightweight, also stained/painted wood. One drawer has a small chip missing on its back part. Again, difficult to tell what exactly is damage and what just needs to be cleaned, i.e., the inside corners of the drawers.
    The box is still definitely within the nice realm from a subjective aesthetic view. If I had a reason to use it for something, since I don’t play Mahjong, I’d be tempted to keep it, but it doesn’t really fit with my décor and I don’t wear jewelry to turn it into a jewelry box.

    Question (2): Would you agree that my assessment, based on the assembly of the box and the nature of the tiles, that this set is likely from the early 1920s?

    Question (3): Does this set offer any unique or interesting features that you haven’t seen in many other sets from the 1920s, if that is indeed when it was likely made? (i.e., the protruding characters on the front cover, the ways the drawers are removed, the design of tiles, etc.) I ask because I haven’t see a box quite like this one listed on Ebay or your site so far, though I have seen similarish ones.

    Question (4): What valuation/estimation would you say this set is worth, given its condition, what it does/doesn’t include, and how it compares to other sets you’ve seen?

    Thank you so much for your time and expertise, and let me know if there’s any information I missed. I tried to be thorough. Also, please let me know if you have any trouble with the pictures. They were gigantic files when I first tried to upload them, so I tried to make them more manageable, but hopefully not too small.

    Hi, Lindsey! I've chosen to answer your questions out of order...

    Would you agree that my assessment, based on the assembly of the box and the nature of the tiles, that this set is likely from the early 1920s?
    Sorry, no. It was made recently, and then treated and made to look old. Above, you said: "there are thin white lines on the backs of some tiles which indicate them having been slid across the table/rubbed against something (maybe 20% of the tiles)." They look to me like they were soaked in clay or something. I've seen a lot of such sets since the 1990s. The design on the white dragon, and the Singapore animals tiles, are indications that the tiles were made in the decades after the 1920s.

    Does this set offer any unique or interesting features
    The box is ornately decorated. Unfortunately, the box is another problem with the age of the set. The box is of the type commonly used in the 1920s, drawers with a sliding front. But look at all the space in the drawers, with the tiles in place. The box was made for larger tiles. Your tiles are the smaller size, commonly found from the 1930s until? 1950s? Those smaller size tiles typically came in slide-top boxes, not the slide-front boxes. The set is a Frankenstein; made of parts of two sets.

    Do you recommend that sets be cleaned before you purchase them, or do you/other buyers prefer to purchase as-is to evaluate and do repairs/cleaning yourself?
    Depends. In your case, there's no cleaning to do. That's the way those artificially aged tiles are.

    What valuation/estimation would you say this set is worth
    I'm sure those sets sold fine at retail when they were new, in the 1990s. If it was in the same condition now, could be worth US$90 to someone who likes its artificially-old look. But it's not. The box needs repair, there are those two damaged tiles, and you are missing the other parts that probably came with that set - most likely a roll of colorful poker chips and the ubiquitous and incomprehensible "Directions" booklet.
    The real value is the box. A collector in need of such a box for an orphan set of tiles might pay tens of dollars for that (maybe even twenties).
    Still, not $90. Maybe $50, give or take ten. Or split the difference.

    Good luck finding it a new home! Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When is a tile "down"? When is it too late to pung it?

    On Sunday, March 28, 2021, 09:16:23 PM PDT, Bev M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Could you tell me please the answer to a situation which is causing a lot of angst among our members.
    Q1: When is a tile considered to be discarded.
    It is my understanding that it is when the discarder has taken their hand off the tile and not before.
    Q2: When a previous player has made a discard – when is it too late to pung it
    It is my understanding from reading the rules:
    A1: When the next player has drawn a tile and placed it on their rack – or
    A2: The tile which has been drawn by the next player has been discarded by placing that tile on the table face up and taking their hand from the tile.
    I would be grateful if you could clarify this please
    Regards, Bev.

    Hi, Bev! You've asked frequently asked questions 19-A and 19-C, about the Window Of Opportunity rule -- one of the most commonly-misunderstood and most-important rules in American mah-jongg.

    When is a tile considered to be discarded.
    The discard is "down" when EITHER the tile touches the table OR it is named in full - whichever happens first. See FAQ 19-A. The rule is on page 19 in the official rulebook.

    A discard going down opens the window of opportunity for any player (other than the discarder) to claim the discard.

    when is it too late to pung it
    The window of opportunity on that discard closes when next player either racks, discards, declares mah-jongg, or has announced a joker exchange. See page 24 in the official rulebook, or see FAQ 19-C, The window is also closed by a player claiming the discard and starting to make an exposure (see FAQ 19.H.3).

    I hope you'll click those links and share the rule with your group (safely, of course).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 28, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Lady Luck seems to be against me

    On Friday, March 26, 2021, 03:51:12 PM PDT, Kraig K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom, I don’t know what happened, but I used to dominate our Mah Jongg group. Much to the delight of the Ladies that I play with “The tiles are no longer with me.” I don’t think that my play has got worse or their play has improved, but it’s been a rough month. Do reasonably good players have periods where the game is not kind to them?

    Absolutely, Kraig. As I wrote in FAQ 8, "the more experienced/skilled player will win more often than less experienced players, but even the most highly skilled players are subject to the vagaries of chance." I've had lengthy periods of lousy luck. Sometimes it gets into your head. Gotta fight those inner devils.
    Still could be that your opponents have gotten better. Maybe the strategy FAQ could have some useful ideas 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.
    March 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Many players turn the last stack, part 2

    On Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 10:08:27 AM PDT, Joann F wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Thank you so much – you are the best and I LOVE your sense of humor
    Stay safe and well – cheers from Kelowna, BC, Canada
    Joann F
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    You're welcome, Joann!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 24, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Many players turn the last stack sideways

    On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 10:15:53 PM PDT, Joann F wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When a wall is pushed out many players turn the last stack of two tiles sideways. Is this a rule or just an option in order to identify the end of the wall and to ensure that players pick their next tile from the correct end of the wall?
    I know that picking and racking a tile from the wrong end makes the player dead. However, if I don’t turn the stack, players in my group will turn them if I don’t do it when I push out my rack and have tried to call me dead if I don’t turn them.
    thanks

    Hi, Joann! You wrote:

    many players turn the last stack of two tiles sideways. Is this a rule or just an option in order to identify the end of the wall and to ensure that players pick their next tile from the correct end of the wall?
    It's a harmless table rule ("an option," as you said). To keep people from picking from the wrong end. It's not a rule of the game, and it's not described in the official rulebook.

    if I don’t do it when I push out my rack and have tried to call me dead if I don’t turn them.
    In my opinion, that's carrying the table rule too far. Failure to mark the back end of the wall is NOT a fatal offense. But there's an old saying, "When in Rome..."
    Just saying, it's best to just go along with the prevailing table rule.

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


    Oops. Undo! Can I take that back?

    On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 03:59:10 PM PDT, Penny E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I called a tile and had the pung partially exposed on my rack and realized I didn’t want it after all. Can I put it back and continue playing or am I considered dead or I just have to leave it and look for a different hand?
    Thank you.
    Penny

    Sorry, Penny. Once you exposed atop the rack, you committed to the move. See the "change of heart" FAQs. Your next step: expose the pung fully and discard.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA



    Can't access the voice chat

    On Thursday, March 18, 2021, 01:40:31 PM PDT, Carrie N wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I am wondering if you can figure out why I can’t access the voice chat on the real maj jongg computer game. Thanks. Carrie

    I'm sorry, Carrie, but I don't and can't provide technical support for computer games. I assume your system has a working microphone, and a working camera, which are not disabled in settings. Maybe the game website or app has a Help menu, with a way to ask the app's owner how to make their service work. Or maybe there is a subreddit for that. Or maybe another reader of this board will be able to offer some suggestions. FAQ 24 might be useful for you, if you need more suggestions...
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My mystery tiles are blowing my mind, part 4

    On Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 11:35:06 PM PDT, Hugh o wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Thanks Tom from across the pond for your knowledge about the Atom weight tiles.
    Fantastic site. $10 donation sent. Cheers. Hugh

    It wasn't really knowledge so much as guesswork, but you're welcome!
    囧 <Awkward> The snail carrying the donation hasn't arrived yet, but thanks.
    Tom
    March 18


    My mystery tiles are blowing my mind, part 3

    On Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 03:18:49 AM PDT, Hugh o wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom. Re Atom weight tiles.
    I have attached photo of full set in the hope you can help me identify the Atom weight tiles use/purpose.
    Great site btw. Very interesting and informative.
    Thanks. Hugh

    Hi, Hugh.
    Interesting. Aside from the regular 136 basic tiles, you have 4 flowers (Chinese figures from history and/or legend), the 4 Atom tiles, and 4 extra blanks. So you can use the Atom tiles as either flowers (albeit unnumbered) or jokers. If you play without flowers and without jokers, you would take out those 8 tiles and 4 of the blanks (the other 4 white tiles are, of course, your white dragons). Thanks for sharing your interesting set. Cheers!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    St. Patrick's Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can you call a redeemable tile in order to redeem it?

    On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 07:46:48 PM PDT, Tracey P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: The player to my left discarded a 8 dot tile. I had 3 previously exposed 8 dot tiles and one joker in my rack. It was my turn after the tile was discarded. I called the tile and replaced the already exposed joker in my rack to make it four 8 dot tiles. I then discarded. Can you call a tile to retrieve a exposed joker in your own rack?

    No. Read 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.
    March 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My mystery tiles are blowing my mind, part 2

    On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 12:20:47 PM PDT, Hugh o wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Thanks Tom for your super quick response re the Atom weight tiles.
    I will forward photos of full set Asap.
    Thanks again and kindest regards.
    Hugh

    No problem, Hugh. Standing by.


    My mystery tiles are blowing my mind

    On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 08:56:08 AM PDT, Hugh o wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom.
    Can you help me identify these strange mah-jongg tiles with bombs on. I'm not sure but think there may be english words on the side that I cant make out but one word could be atomic??
    Thanks for your time.
    Hugh

    Hi, Hugh.
    The Chinese characters 原子 mean "atom." It looks to me like the script writing says "atom weight." As for how the tiles are to be used, I can't tell you unless I see the tiles in context with all the other tiles of the set.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call without enough same tiles, part 2

    On Friday, March 12, 2021, 07:33:13 PM PST, Donna G wrote:
    Re: Calling for a discarded tile
    Thank you so much for the quick response and the clarification. I do have your book and bought one for my friend. I did find it in your book but wanted to be sure
    I read it correctly. The group I played with let us claim a tile when we just had a natural & a joker & we could expose it and add to it later. The game is certainly more difficult when you play by the rules. We don’t get to play as a group because of the COVID pandemic so I’m playing online and that’s why I got into trouble with trying to claim a tile when I wasn’t able to expose the whole set.
    Thanks again for your help,
    Stay safe,
    Donna

    Ah! The situation is clear now. An exposure cannot be changed after the caller has discarded. See FAQ 19-AF (in The Red Dragon & The West Wind, see p. 53 (rule 60f) and p. 100. Also, you can never expose a pair. See FAQ 19-E. It's in my book too - see p. 52 (rule 58b), and p. 57 (rule 81), and p. 87.
    I wouldn't say the game is "more difficult when you play by the rules," I would say "don't make table rules that make it easier to win."
    I really need to proofread this, but it's bedtime and I'm tired (had my 2nd Pfizer vaccine shot yesterday). Good night!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call without enough of same tiles?

    On Friday, March 12, 2021, 04:35:32 PM PST, Donna G wrote:
    Calling for a discarded tile
    Can I pick up a tile that the person on my left discards, to build my set without having enough of same tiles in my hand to expose for Mahjongg. I always thought that it was mine to take before anyone else calls for it? My group has been playing that way so we need clarification.
    Hope to hear from you soon,
    Donna

    Hi, Donna! Let's see if I can be of any help with your questions:

    Can I pick up a tile that the person on my left discards, to build my set without having enough of same tiles in my hand to expose for Mahjongg.
    If I stop reading that question after "in my hand" (if I ignore the phrase "to expose for Mahjongg"), the answer is clear: "No." To make a pung (3 of a kind) from a discard, you have to have two of same tiles (or one of same tile plus a joker, or two jokers, which all amount to the same thing). If you cannot pay the price, you cannot make the purchase.

    But you also added the phrase "to expose for Mahjongg," which confused me. If you don't have enough same tiles for an exposure, you aren't ready to declare mah-jongg. To win, the entire hand must comply fully with its description on the card.

    I always thought that it was mine to take before anyone else calls for it?
    If two people verbally claim the same discard (and no exposures are made), then the next-in-line gets the tile, yes... But she has to be able to make the purchase (she must expose the completed set, or the completed hand). That's assuming both callers want the discard for the equivalent usage (both want it to make an exposure, or both want it for mah-jongg). See FAQ 19-H for answers to the various "conflicting claims" questions that are frequently asked about various claims conflict situations.

    If I have not answered your questions or if I have misconstrued what you're asking, you are welcome to email me again. But please read FAQ 19-H first.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    We made a website, part 4a
    Rule 16 (Suzhou mah-jongg), part 3


    On Friday, March 12, 2021, 07:45:29 AM PST, Petr M wrote:
    On Sites and Links
    Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    I saw your text at the Bulletin Board:
    ================
    Well, we'll see if he* comes back, Pete**. Did you set up an account, and there was still no way to ask support questions or otherwise contact the owner? That makes me suspicious. The day after I posted, I got an email from another site owner, wanting to do the same thing. That made me suspicious (are they an SEO network? how'd the word get out so fast if not?), so I didn't post that email exchange on this board. I did add his site to FAQ 5, though.
    ================
    My story about that letter is simple: I just came to see whether anyone answered my question about those "dumplings" in Suzhou rules, then I saw the link to mahjong.io, checked FAQ 5 and found nothing about MahjongSoft. I'm not an owner of MahjongSoft, just a user, but I know people who work on it, so I decided to write about MahjongSoft instead of them (knowing they would not mind). No SEO network involved.
    BTW, about links and my own resources: I started my own humble project about MCR, it's for Russian auditory mainly, but there are some games commented in English, here is the playlist: https://bit.ly/35KnEcu (Youtube, "Northern Peacock" channel, I add 1 more game weekly). I have not found a "video" section at your portal, though.
    With best regards,
    Petr (or Peter, it's all about translation from Russian)

    * Daniel T
    ** Pete S

    Hi, Petr! Welcome back.
    Looking back in my emails to February, I find that indeed, that "suspicious" email was from you, the "dumplings" guy! I didn't recognize your name at the time. My apologies for being suspicious and for making erroneous assumptions. I see now that it was a logical and useful thing for you to do, emailing me that time. I'll retroactively post your Feb. 27 email into the timeline below, referencing today's exchange. I did post the MahjongSoft link at the time (you probably already saw that).
    So you're the 2018 Russia champion? 3-year belated congrats! I don't have a video links section, you're right. Contemplating trying to set up such a thing gives me an instant headache! There would be SO MANY links, and the list would have to be updated SO FREQUENTLY, and if one is on YouTube, one can easily find such videos. So, with apologies, I decline the idea.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I made an 8-9-10 hand, is that legal?

    On Saturday, March 6, 2021, 06:34:07 AM PST, Kraig K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom, is this a legal winning hand for Mah Jongg? 2020 card, consecutive run, the concealed hand at the bottom. I had Crack 8’s and 9’s, Bam 8’s and 9’s and a 1 Dot with a soap. I declared Maj Jongg and of course the ladies that I play with said it was not a winner. I asked them to show me where I was wrong and they couldn’t and they did pay up.
    Thanks, Kraig K

    Your hand was dead, Kraig. The card calls for a pair of the third consecutive number, so you needed a pair of Ten Dot tiles. But of course there is no such thing as a Ten Dot, so there is no legal way to make a third consecutive number following eights and nines. Read FAQ 19-BH; you cannot make up novel places to use zeroes. The only time you can use a white dragon (soap) as a zero is where you see "0" actually printed 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.
    March 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can you take jokers from a dead hand?

    On Thursday, March 4, 2021, 03:39:42 PM PST, Pat W wrote:
    Can you take jokers from a dead hand in Mah Jongg?
    Good afternoon Tom,
    When playing Mah Jongg using the 2020 National Mah Jongg game card, I called “Mah Jongg” and exposed all 14 tiles at the same time, including 4 jokers. The hand I exposed was 22 44 6J6 8J8 DJJD, not realizing the 4 Dragons were in the same suit as the 6J6 8J8 and not a third suit. Another player pointed out my hand was incorrect and declared it dead.
    Since all 14 tiles were exposed at one time, it was my understanding the jokers were no longer eligible to be redeemed by any other players. However the other players said the jokers could be exchanged. Can you please clarify?
    Thank you.
    Pat
    C

    The other players were wrong, Pat. You understand the rules and they don't. Show them rule 19 on page 24 of the 2020 edition of the official rulebook. If you don't have the rulebook, show them FAQ 19-P. And return all your tiles to the sloping front of the rack.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March Forth!, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How can this game be played without money??

    On Thursday, March 4, 2021, 05:07:17 AM PST, Gretchen M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is
    Do you have rules for scoring (no money involved)? I play with some newbies and they do NOT want to play for money Sad smile

    Hi, Gretchen!
    Use the chips that come with most mah-jongg sets. See FAQ 7-D for info on the how-to.

    You could also use Monopoly money, or chocolate coins. Or you can keep score on paper, or you can use the Chinese scoring sticks (if your set has those), or M&Ms. But most American sets (if you are playing American) come with plastic coins with holes in the center, even though most Americans don't use them and many aren't even sure what those things are for! Just work out a scoring system with your players. Personally, I enjoy playing without money. The "ooh" and "ahh" system is one of my favorites. Everybody say "ooh" when someone wins an ordinary hand, and everybody add "ahh!" when the winner has a high-scoring 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.
    March Forth!, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    On Thursday, March 4, 2021, 03:46:48 AM PST, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Mar 4, 2021 03:46:36 PST
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
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    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March Forth!, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    One of your FAQs needs to be updated, part 2

    On Monday, March 1, 2021, 12:41:09 PM PST, Laura H wrote:
    Re: Teacher Certification FAQ
    Good guess Tom. I am one of the Certified instructors by AMJIA. By the way I also teach online at the School of American Mah Jongg.

    Okay, cool! Did you already look to see the change I made to FAQ 19-co? It may have been updated again since you first saw the change (I updated the update a little while ago).

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    One of your FAQs needs to be updated

    On Monday, March 1, 2021, 08:50:24 AM PST, Laura H wrote:
    Teacher Certification FAQ
    On the FAQ page, there is a question about teaching Mah Jongg.
    CO "Q: Do I have to be certified to teach mah-jongg? Who certifies mah-jongg teachers' qualifications? A: There is no certification process or authority. People all over the continent teach their made-up table rules as if they were real official rules, so I wish you would at least own an up-to-date copy of the League's official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy (and read it cover to cover) before teaching. You should also own my book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind. And there are more books on American mah-jongg in FAQ 3. And read FAQ 26 for some tips on teaching mah-jongg."
    The American Mah Jongg Instructor Association (AMJIA) has a Certification process now. It provides Certification for instructors who teach American Mah Jongg. Could you please update your answer to "Who certifies mah-jongg teachers' qualifications?" part.
    Your efforts to promote the official rules of American Mah Jongg is very much appreciated. My contact info is given below if you need to reach me.
    Mah-Jongg Teaching Tips
    Sloperama FAQ 19 - American Mah-Jongg
    Sloperama FAQ 19 - American Mah-Jongg
    LAURA [Full name and contact info omitted per Sloperama policy]

    You're right, Laura. I forgot about that FAQ.

    Could you please update your answer
    I will. What is your connection with the AMJIA? I know you're not one of the owners (I've been in conversations with them). Did you get a certificate from 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.
    March 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    We made a website, part 3

    On Saturday, February 27, 2021, 09:42:01 AM PST, Pete S wrote:
    we made a website revisited
    Hi Tom,
    I read with interest the post from Daniel Tong about his new website. I visited to take a look and wanted to make a suggestion that Daniel consider making his Rule page as a PDF format so it could be downloaded and printed out, but was unable to find a contact page on his site. I’m hoping he revisits your website and reads this.
    Thanks
    -Pete-
    -90% of politicians give the other 10% a bad name.- Will Rogers

    Well, we'll see if he comes back, Pete. Did you set up an account, and there was still no way to ask support questions or otherwise contact the owner? That makes me suspicious. The day after I posted, I got an email from another site owner, wanting to do the same thing. That made me suspicious (are they an SEO network? how'd the word get out so fast if not?), so I didn't post that email exchange on this board. I did add his site to FAQ 5, though.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 28, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    We made a website, part 4b (retroactive post; see March 12, above)

    On Saturday, February 27, 2021, 04:48:28 AM PST, Petr M wrote:
    Another portal for online games
    Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    thank you for posting info about playmahjong.io, I'd like to tell people that there is another portal where you can play MCR (and DMCR - duplicate competition rules) and SBR (Sichuan Bloody Rules) - it's MahjongSoft: https://mahjongsoft.com . It is being actively developed now, but some big tournaments were already run there, including the first Online Europe Duplicate MCR Championship in November 2020.
    With best regards,
    Peter

    Thanks for the link, товарищ Peter.
    Sorry about the suspiciousness mentioned above in my reply to Pete S. The mahjongsoft link is now in FAQ 5, thanks to you. And thanks for coming back on March 12 to clarify my misunderstanding.
    Cheers,
    Tom


    We made a website, part 2

    On Friday, February 26, 2021, 04:35:35 PM PST, Daniel Tong wrote:
    Re: Competition Mahjong Website
    Thanks a lot! ?? You’re the best.


    We made a website for CMCR

    On Friday, February 26, 2021, 01:29:20 PM PST, Daniel Tong wrote:
    Competition Mahjong Website
    Hi Tom,
    I’m a big fan of your blog. It’s great watching you introduce and share the game of Mahjong to beginners around the world. You really help grow the Mahjong playing community!
    During the pandemic, some classmates and I who regularly played Mahjong together have had trouble finding a good website that lets us play Competition (Chinese Official) Mahjong together. As a result, for our graduation University project, we chose to make an easy-to-use website specifically for Competition Mahjong. I know that you typically don’t click on links, but we would really appreciate it if you would check us out at https://playmahjong.io. I also struggled finding a good website that comprehensively listed all scoring rules in Chinese Official Mahjong along with details about what rules are “implied” by the Non-Repeat Principle. Thus, after carefully reading the Green Book, we wrote https://playmahjong.io/chinese-official-rules.
    We would really appreciate it if we could be featured on your blog! We’re hoping to build a community and popularize Competition Mahjong in the west.
    Thanks for your time,
    Daniel

    Hi, Daniel!
    I'll add your site to FAQ 5. If you see any dead links there, feel free to let me know so I can update the page. Good luck with your site and with your post-graduation careers.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I pick up a discarded blank tile? Where can I get more blank tiles?

    On Friday, February 26, 2021, 12:34:06 PM PST, Karin O wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you pick up a joker off the board with a blank tile.We play with a twist, & use blank tiles.?
    Thanks, Karin

    On Friday, February 26, 2021, 12:35:29 PM PST, Karin O wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    How can I get blank tiles to add to my sets I can play Mahjong with a twist?
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    Hi, Karin! You asked:

    Can you pick up a joker off the board with a blank tile.
    If you're asking "can you call a discarded joker," the answer is NO - if you're playing by American (NMJL) rules. See FAQ 19-G, please.

    We play with a twist, & use blank tiles.?
    I don't know what you're telling me, or even if I need to know in order to answer your questions. If you're using blank tiles as jokers, are you saying you're using more jokers than called for in the usual American (NMJL) rules (eight jokers is standard)? Or are you playing an Asian mah-jongg variant, and adding in blank tiles as jokers? There are no "official" rules for how to use jokers in Asian mah-jongg - each table makes its own table rules. But there are joker rules in American (NMJL) rules (if that's the variant you play).

    How can I get blank tiles to add to my sets
    As I told melissa w on Tuesday (scroll down to the next Q&A below), the most reliable way is to buy a second set that matches yours. You can see the blank tiles FAQ for everything I can tell you about blank tiles.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Where to buy blank tiles that match my set?

    On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 05:06:45 PM PST, melissa w wrote:
    Question about Japanese set manufacturer
    Dear Tom,
    I love your website! I'm learning so much!
    And I would love your advice... I have a Japanese set that is identical to what you pictured -- except my set came with poker chips instead of the orange rectangles, and the kanji on the flower baskets is in the upper right instead of top center:
    image.png
    The product info seems to say the manufacturer is MVC.
    I'd really like to get another 8 tiles in the same white plastic (urea resin?) with dovetailed bamboo backs to extend my set for American hands (figuring I'll use stickers for that).
    Do you have any advice for me as to how to find spare tiles that will match my set?
    Thank you so much!
    Melissa

    Hi, Melissa!
    I'm sorry, I'm not much help in that regard. My best suggestion is to buy a second identical set. Your options beyond that are very limited, I'm afraid. Everything I know about getting blank tiles to match your set is in FAQ 7Q. Good luck! (You're going to need 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.
    February 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A marvelous mystery, part 2

    On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 04:36:16 AM PST, Ridgely S wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I didn’t mention the color, I guess because all is in black and I realize black is optional. Carpe Diem seems too easy because it is 75 points. It is a sequence of numbers and all the instruction says is “#’s mix and match”. I copied all the rest of the wording in first email. I will attempt to take a picture and send in another mailing. Thanks for prompt reply.

    On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 04:45:00 AM PST, Ridgely S wrote:
    Photo of card
    The sequence in question is the next to last. Thanks again for your help.

    Hi, Ridgely.
    I suppose "mix or match" might mean you can use numbers of any suit(s) as long as you get all the numbers. If that phrase is used anywhere else on the card, that might be a clue. The person who knows for sure is the designer of the card, Kimberly. A walk through the marvelousmahjongg website turns up an email address (it might be somewhere on the card, too). You can email info@marvelousmahjongg.com. But she's in Houston, where they just went through a historic natural disaster. No telling how her home and business have fared, or how her response time may be affected. Good luck! Sorry I couldn't be more help.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A marvelous mystery

    On Monday, February 22, 2021, 02:37:51 PM PST, Ridgely S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the Marvelous Mah Jongg 2021 card under Carpe Diem,” #’s mix or match, Ox Hill VA, the longitude and latitude” can the numbers in each sequence be a mixture of suits? Thank you.
    Ridgely

    I don't know, Ridgely, since I don't know what color the numbers are (I don't have a copy of that card). The color-coding on American cards is explained in FAQ 19-BY.
    If that doesn't help, then I would need complete information about the hand (exact wording and colors of the hand, including any parentheticals if any), or maybe another reader who has the Marvelous 2021 card will write in with the answer to your question.
    I suppose "mix or match" might mean any mix of suits, but I'd have to see the way the hand is written in full as I said above. Maybe there's an address or phone number somewhere on the card where you can 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.
    2/22/21
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When you have the flower wall

    On Sunday, February 21, 2021, 08:30:36 PM PST, Diane B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When you have the flower wall who is the first person that gets the tile And from there or do you go to the left or the right

    Hi, Diane!
    It sounds like you're asking how the deal starts in an Asian mah-jongg variant that has a flower wall. After the wall has been broken by dice roll, the dealer (also called East, the person who rolled the dice and broke the wall) takes four tiles to the left of the break. See this diagram from FAQ 20:

    The flower wall is to the right of the break. The stack immediately to the right of the break is the back end of the wall. You take flower replacements from the back end of the wall. The tiles are dealt going clockwise around the wall from the break. That's the front end of 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.
    02/21/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She didn't appreciate my little quip

    On Thursday, February 18, 2021, 08:50:29 AM PST, Joyce E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A player let a 7 dot go by when it was discarded. When my turn came I discarded the same 7 dot and she picked it up. I joked and said “oh, you didn’t want hers but you wanted mine” and she turned on me like a snake and took my comment personal saying that I only picked on her which I don’t.
    Please tell me, was I wrong to make a joke at the table? She is a friend but very sensitive.
    Thank you
    Joyce

    Hi, Joyce!
    I don't know the reason why she shot daggers at you with her eyes. You say she's very sensitive. Maybe she took your remark as criticism of her strategy (she may have passed on the first one intentionally), or she took your remark as an insult (she may have just been slow on the first one and felt dumb, and when you called her out on it she felt you were calling her dumb). I don't know. Since you know she's sensitive, you can just think a second about how she might take anything you say during play, before letting the words come out of your mouth.
    In mah-jongg, there are strategic reasons to, or not to, comment on what's going on in the game. "Sharing information" (like for instance pointing out when a player discards a redeemable tile, or when a player makes a second exposure that reveals what hand he's working on) is frowned upon by serious players. That's not what you were guilty of this time exactly, but who knows what was going on in her mind. When I play, I limit my comments and I also guard my body language. But now I digress.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How much do I collect if I win by redeeming a joker?

    On Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 01:48:12 PM PST, Joanne P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I got mahjong by taking a joker from an opponent’s rack. Do I collect double from that person or is it considered picking the tile myself and collect double from everyone.
    Thank you
    Joanne P
    Sent from my iPhone Joanne

    Hi, Joanne.
    Winning by joker redemption is treated as self-picking the winning tile. See FAQ 19-AN here on my website. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for any future questions about NMJL rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Tonight my mic, part 2

    On Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 12:39:17 PM PST, Pete S wrote:
    tonight my mic did not work
    Hi Tom,
    You’re brave to try to answer tech support questions with so little information to work from. As you mentioned, if the other players could hear irenesuem but she couldn’t hear them it was her speakers that were the problem.
    On my computer the built-in speakers sound tinny so I usually plug in an external speaker or headphone/earbuds. I recently was in a zoom call where I believed the other person had not turned on their microphone because I could not hear them. I came to discover that the plug for my external speaker had not seated properly. It was in far enough to cut out the internal speakers but not far enough to activate the external one.
    The Second Rule of Troubleshooting Electronics is “Always check the connections”. The First Rule is “Turn it off, then on (reboot).” If you’re interested the Third Rule is “Lift it 3 inches above the desk top and drop it.” Usually one of those will get things working again.
    Gung Hay Fat Chow
    -Pete-
    -It is true we cannot be free of sin, but at least let our sins not always be the same.- St. Teresa of Avila

    Thanks, Pete!
    Happy new year to you, too.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Tonight my mic did not work.

    On Monday, February 15, 2021, 10:01:19 PM PST, irenesuem wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:tonight my mic did not work. the other three players could hear me but i couldn't hear them we play realmaj 2020..2019. what should i do
    Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy S10.

    Hi, irenesuem! Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I just found your email in my spam folder.
    1. You say your mic didn't work, but I'm thinking it did. The others could hear you, so your mic clearly was working.
    2. I don't know why you couldn't hear the other players. Maybe you had your volume turned down, or maybe another app on your device was hogging your audio services. Might be a bug in the system. Or maybe your earbuds weren't all the way in the jack. Or maybe it was a one-time fluke.
    3. You might want to check with the makers of your app for technical support. See FAQ 24 for some tips on how to obtain tech support for your mah-jongg game. I have no relationship with the makers of your game, and this is not a technical support website.
    Hope your technical issue gets resolved next time you play online. Who knows, maybe it'll just work next time! Or maybe another reader will have experienced the same thing and can offer some tips.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She said its name and then she noticed...

    On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, 10:46:30 AM PST, Penny E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A player called a tile but hadn’t yet put it on the table when she noticed it could be exchanged for a joker. At the same time another player wanted it for man-jong.
    Who gets it?
    Thank you.
    Penny

    Hi, Penny!
    The National Mah Jongg League's rule is that once she has said the discard's name in full, she cannot take it back. See the "Backsies! Do-Over! Undo!" FAQ (FAQ 19-AM). The rule is on page 18 of the League's official rulebook.
    But then you say, someone else wanted it for mah-jongg. Mah-jongg trumps everything. The mah-jongger takes the tile and wins, regardless of the discarder's desire for backsies or any other claimants to the discard. See the "conflicting claims, one for mahj" FAQ, FAQ 19-H3.
    Please bookmark FAQ 19 for any future questions about the NMJL rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Conflicting claims for a discard

    On Monday, February 15, 2021, 10:03:47 PM PST, Jill p wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If one person calls a tile and it is not for mah jongg and another person whose turn is next casually says (after the person called for the tile) oh I wanted that tile- who does it go to?
    does it automatically go to the person whose turn is next-even though they said it way after the first person called it?
    Thank you,
    Jill

    Hi, Jill, so you're asking Frequently Asked Question 19-H. There are a number of ways conflicting claims can go, depending on seat position (as you say) and why the player claims the tile, and also who actually takes action. You're saying two players have merely spoken for the tile, and both want it for the same reason. In that case, it's not a race to see who speaks first. The tile goes to the next-in-line. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for the next time you have a question about American (NMJL) mah-jongg (assuming that's the variant you play).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 15, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The Year of the Ox

    My Lunar New Year wish is that this is the year when the pandemic finally relaxes its grip on the world. And that racist violence against our Asian friends, neighbors, and loved ones comes to an end. And that we all get along. Is that asking too much, ya big ox?
    恭喜發財
    Tom Sloper
    February 12, 2021


    Any info you can provide, part 2

    On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 01:56:13 PM PST, Brent M wrote:
    Re: My Mah-Jongg
    Its a simple question! I don't know anything about and want to learn what I have. Things you tell me about it are not "meanderings"...it is knowledge. But if I must give you a target, can you tell me what the tiles are made from? Can you roughly tell me the age? Does it look like all the pieces are there?

    Thank you for your direct targeted questions, Brent:

    can you tell me what the tiles are made from?
    They're made of bone and bamboo.

    Can you roughly tell me the age?
    It's ninety-some years old (made in the 1920s).

    Does it look like all the pieces are there?
    It's missing pieces. You're missing a 3-dot tile and a 1-bam tile. There are no dice or dice coffin, there are no wind discs or wind disc container. I don't know if all the scoring sticks are there. There is no rule booklet. The front panel is missing from the box (and part of the box front left edge is broken off, thus the front panel has nothing to hold it in place). The drawer pulls are all gone except for one. Those sets came with 8 blank tiles, and it looks like you may have only 7.

    If you want to know more about 1920s bone and bamboo sets, see column 610. If you want to know more about mah-jongg sets, see FAQ 7.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Any info you can provide

    On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 11:40:56 AM PST, Brent M wrote:
    My Mah-Jongg
    Hi Tom
    Im hoping you can tell me about my Mah-Jongg set. Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated
    Thank you
    Brent

    Brent, I don't do "tell me anything" meanderings. I need a target. You need to ask me a question. What do you want to know about your set?
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Rule 16 (Suzhou mah-jongg), part 2

    On Monday, February 8, 2021, 09:02:13 AM PST, Petr M wrote:
    Re: Question about a fan in Suzhou mahjong
    Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    thank you for publishing and answering. But we must admit that Google AI translator cannot make any sensible translation of mahjong texts. So it definitely would be better to consult someone with knowledge of the Chinese language. We also must remember that it's not "common speech" (putonghua), this Suzhou dialect may differ from the official Chinese language. Or it may even be some mix of Suzhou dialect and putonghua.
    Yes, the term "hua" (flower) was used for "points" in Suzhou mahjong. For different fans we see their cost in points: "5 hua", "10 hua". There are curious fans in this list. Let me translate them more adequately.

      1. "Bottom": 5 points (it's possibly "last tile in the discard", and it's not a cheap thing)
      2. "Flower replaced": White, Green, Red, 4 flowers and 4 seasons, 4 jokers "baida" and 4 "dabaiji" (not sure what it is, maybe some special tiles): 1 point for each (yes, dragons are treated as flowers here, if you pick a dragon from the wall, you replace it)
      3. "Melded kong": 1 point (in any suit: Bams, Cracks or Dots)
      4. "Concealed kong": 2 points (in any suit)
      5. "Melded pung of honors": 1 point (pung of winds, as long as dragons are flowers, it's called "peng" to show that it was melded)
      6. "Concealed pung of honors": 2 points ("anke" used here to show that the pung was concealed)
      7. "Melded kong of honors": 3 points
      8. "Concealed kong of honors": 4 points
      9. "Little concealed hand": 5 points (no declarations from other players were made: no chows, no pungs and no melded kongs)
      10. "Big concealed hand": 10 points (no flowers at all, no pungs nor kongs of honors - and possibly no melded sets, like in previous fan)
      11. "All pungs": 5 points (there is also some note about pungs and kongs, but not very clear)
      12. "Half flush": 5 points (one suit and honors)
      13. "Seven pairs": 10 points
      14. "Full flush": 10 points
      15. "Winning with a replacement tile": 5 points (when a tile taken as a replacement for a declared kong is your winning tile)
      16. "Making dumplings": one player pays triple sum for feeding into a kong, count "winning with replacement tile" here (reference to the previous fan)
      17. "Robbing a kong": one player pays triple sum (and if two or three other players claim victory on this robbing, the feeder pays triple sums to each winner)
      18. "Big crane": 5 points (single waiting after 4 declarations of pungs or kongs)
      19. "Heaven blessing": 50 points (winning with the starting hand for East)
      20. "Earth blessing": 50 points (winning with the first tile drawn from the wall - for a non-dealer, not East)
      21. "Getting the Moon from the sea bottom": 5 points (winning with the last tile in the wall)

    So it's not easy to decrypt this dialect even with some fan names already known, like "Winning with a replacement tile" or "All pungs". I still can't understand what is this "Making dumplings". I know a curious fan in Sichuan mahjong, where you may win with a tile discarded by another player right after he had declared a kong. I know no other mahjongs where this fan is used. Maybe "making dumplings" is something like this, but then - why also count "winning with a replacement tile"? I also remember a "twofold" fan when a player gets many points for declaring two kongs in a row and winning with a replacement tile for the second kong.
    I hope other readers may help, so we'll find an answer together.
    With best regards,
    Peter

    Thanks for the better translation, Peter. Hopefully someone will have an answer for you. I, too, don't see how this #16 "Making Dumplings" fan works.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call a discard for a pair?

    On Monday, February 8, 2021, 05:41:32 AM PST, Colleen G wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can you table your pair at any time during the game or only at the end when you declare mah Jong
    I can’t find it in the rule book I have - an old one (by Max Robertson - 14th edition with a ‘Supplement 1957 Edition) My parents bought the game in Malaya in 1957/58 and there is also a ‘Directions of Playing the Chinese Game of Four Winds’ booklet that came with the set - it doesn’t state when to play the pair either.
    Hope you can help. Thanks.
    Colleen.
    Queensland, Australia.

    Hi, Colleen!
    The only time you can call a discard is when the discard gives you a pung or an exposed kong, a chow, or mah-jongg. You cannot call a discard to meld a pair.
    A better book on British/Australian rules would be the Thompson & Maloney books (there are several, my recommendation is "The Game of Mah Jong Illustrated") or "Mah Jong, Anyone?" by Strauser & Evans (I wrote some new material in that one in 2006, but older editions are still useful). I think the Max Robertson is too short, not enough.
    And that "Directions" booklet is famously incomprehensible. I have no idea what variant "Directions" is supposed to describe. "Directions" is useless and I wish set manufacturers would stop reprinting 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.
    February 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Age and value of this set

    On Monday, February 8, 2021, 05:08:26 AM PST, Martyn H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi My Grandfather gave me this MaJong Set in the early 70’s.
    From memory he told me he had bought it in Hong Kong shortly after WW2 whilst serving in The Royal Navy.
    I have counted 140 Tiles which are coloured Red and Biege - I first thought they were plastic but if their age is correct I think they are made of Bakelite?
    There are numerous white coloured sticks I would imagine they are made of bone.
    The instruction manual says they wee sold by Kwong Fat Cheung 111 Wellington Street, Hong Kong. There is also a small grey coloured dice. The set comes in an ornate wooden box
    I have attached several pictures, please could you give me some idea of the age and value of the set?
    Many thanks
    Martyn H
    Oxfordshire
    UK

    Hi, Martyn.
    Looks like you and Lynne N (February 1, below) both have "Chinese Bakelite" sets from Kwong Fat Cheung. You should scroll down and read my conversation with her. You asked me two questions:

    some idea of the age
    Hard to say. Could be from the fifties, sixties, or seventies. I don't know when Kwong Fat Cheung was founded. I think your set is about as old as Lynne's, but your set was made as a "premium" set because of the carved wooden box, while hers was made as a cheapo set because of the cardboard box. Her tiles have green backs and yours have maroon backs but are likely made of the same stuff.

    and value
    I can't. You haven't given me any information on the condition of the set and its pieces. You say you have only 140 tiles. I don't know which 4 tiles are missing, and I don't know what condition your tiles are in. The box itself may be the most valuable part, depending on its condition.
    The sticks look like many are smudged. You didn't photograph the dice. You didn't even arrange the tiles.
    The "Directions" booklet is worthless due to the terrible writing (as I've said several times in the past few days, just scroll down and see the post just above this one). As I told Lynne on Feb. 1, I visited 111 Wellington Street some years back. I talked to the company's [president?], Linda Chan, and suggested to her that she needs a better instruction booklet to include in sets. That suggestion fell on deaf ears.
    The Chinese-language pamphlet from Kwong Fat Cheung is more valuable since these are usually thrown away. I assume it's a catalog of other KFC products. Your photo is very interesting in that I think it might offer a clue as to the composition of your tiles. I wonder now if "Chinese Bakelite" is pulverized reconstituted fishbone, dyed yellow.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How old is it, part 2

    On Monday, February 8, 2021, 12:33:29 AM PST, Marianne D wrote:
    Re: Mah_jongg Age?
    Thank you so much!
    Your site is a gold mine of information, I'm sure we'll be coming back to it many times :)

    You're welcome, Marianne.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    If I have 3 pungs and a kong do I still need a pair?

    On Sunday, February 7, 2021, 08:46:20 PM PST, Siri M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jong question or comment is:If I have a kong do I still need a pair to mah jong? 3 sets of three and 1 kong?

    Hi, Siri!
    Three pungs and a kong is only 13 tiles. You need 14 to win. With 3 pungs and a kong, you still need a pair. Yes, that is 15 tiles, but your kong is just a glorified pung (4=3). Please read FAQ 20 (D), and bookmark FAQ 20 for any further questions you might have about Asian 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.
    February 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How old is it?

    On Sunday, February 7, 2021, 10:07:33 AM PST, Marianne D wrote:
    Mah_jongg Age?
    Hi Tom,
    I came across your site when searching for mahjongg rules regarding limit scores, and ended up falling down the rabbit hole of information! Problem is that I can't seem to figure out how old our set is. I bought it at a charity shop in Holland years ago, and assumed it was old by the appearance but FAQ 7g got me both intrigued and a little confused, so I decided to answer the checklist in the hopes you can help!
    1. 136 basic tiles: 4x9 Bams, Kraks and Rings; 4x3 dragons, 4x4 winds and 8 flowers. There are also 4 what I assume to be jokers, and 4 blank tiles in their original plastic wrapping (hard celluloid plastic, glued shut)
    It comes with bone wind indicators, 2 bone dice, and 40 sticks also made of bone. These are a second source of confusion as there are 4 denominations, and there are 10 of each - which doesn't seem to make sense given the usual usage of these. We don't actually use them so it doesn't disrupt play (just keep track of scores and who owes who in a notepad).
    2. The set came with three booklets, none of them dated.
    The first is in english, "Directions of playing Mah-Jongg" (no trademark), no authors name, although it does have "China Zejiang" on the cover, which ! assume indicates that it was printed there. It seems to have been written up on a typewriter, given the uneven lines, and the uncorrected spelling mistakes, and not by a native english speaker, given the grammar.
    The second two are in Dutch. One is titled "Mah-Jongg; Het Spel der 10000 wonderen" (no trademark, translates to the Game of 10000 Wonders), was printed by the Aziatische Kunsthandel in Amsterdam, no author mentioned.
    The last, also in dutch, is the only one I could find anything about. It is titled "Mah-jong als Gezelschapsspel", by M. Cordier. This was first printed in 1964, and ours is a tenth edition, so I'm guessing it's from the 70s - maybe a later addition to the set?
    3. The tiles are made of bone and bamboo (the Haversian system is visible in many of the tiles, as well as in the dice, wind indicators and sticks).
    4. As mentioned before, I bought this at a charity shop; I'm afraid I know nothing about its history.
    5. 2.1cm x 2.7cm x 0.9cm. The bone portion is 0.35cm thick at the thinnest portion, 0.5cm thick at the thickest part of the dovetail joint.
    6. Basic 136 tiles are all present (8 flowers), as well as 4 jokers and 4 blank tiles.
    7. I'm not sure what the box is made of. It's hard and covered in a fabric that I assume is a rough silk. It has a hinged top, metal clasps and a flexible plastic handle. It doesn't contain trays for the tiles, just a tray for storing the "bits and bobs" in. Clearest signs of age are in the clasps which have taken a battering over the years and don't close perfectly, and the silk (?) which is worn in many places.
    8. See images. Modern style kraks are used, which according to your website indicates 70's or later - in contrast to the bone material which would indicate 40's or earlier.
    9&10. See images.
    11. See images; 8 flowers.
    12. See images. 4 jokers, and they are carves just like all the other tiles.
    Hopefully this gives you all the information you need, I hope you can give me an age indication; and if anything about the set is interesting feel free to publish it :)
    Thanks,
    Marianne R

    Hi, Marianne!
    There are several key points from your photos:
    - The cloth-covered box is a type commonly found in the 1990s.
    - The style of jokers is a type commonly seen in cloth-covered boxes of the 1990s.
    - The 1990s tiles were not hand-carved; yours are. The carving is less elegant than most sets.
    - The 1990s tiles were made of pulverized reconstituted fishbone. You're probably right that yours are bone.
    - The surface of the tiles show tool marks, indicating that the tiles' manufacturing process was hurried (not the quality treatment granted to expensive sets).
    - The booklet is the usual infamously badly written instructions that come with many many sets from China over several decades up to today. Lynne N's February 1 set (below) contains the same booklet, with different cover art.
    - The 1990s boxes had cloth-and-bone closures, whereas yours has brass clasps.
    - The 1990s boxes had four trays for the tiles, whereas as you noted in your email, your box has none.

    Your guess of the 1970s is very much in line with my thinking: I'm thinking this set is a precursor to the 1990s boxed sets (same maker). Possibly 1970s or 1980s.
    By the way, your photo of the jokers and blanks was upside-down, so I flipped it. Chinese characters usually have "legs" at the bottom, not flat "bases" as we westerners might expect.
    Greetz! Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

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    You received a payment
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    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
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    Amount received $10.00 USD
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    Thank you for your continued support, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Should we list Richi Doman mahjong, part 2

    On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 01:25:34 PM PST, Jennifer wrote:
    Re: richi doman style mahjong game
    LOL, you are master of your ship, truly :)
    Thanks and I'll have to explore Washizu majan. Sounds delectable. :) Jeni

    Still, you're absolutely right, those variants ought to be listed in the FAQ. It's on my Do list.
    Play safely and stay healthy, Jeni. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Should we list Richi Doman mahjong?

    On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 11:40:50 AM, Jennifer wrote:
    richi doman style mahjong game
    Happy Year of the Ox, Tom!
    Should we include the Richi Doman style mahjong game from Final Fantasy somewhere in your sloperama? It requires that the player already have a final fantasy subscription, but it's fun to play.
    https://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/playguide/contentsguide/goldsaucer/doman-mahjong/special_rule/
    Also THANK YOU for the Mahjong Time link, you saved me from itsmahjong.com being removed. I was having withdrawals.
    Always your fan, Jeni

    Hi, Jeni,
    If we list Richi Doman from the FF video game, we would also need to list Washizu majan from Akagi. Where should those be listed? FAQ 2-B, surely. I'll consider adding them. And what's this "we" business? (^_−)☆
    Thanks! Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Set value request, part 2

    On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 09:03:57 AM PST, Robert D wrote:
    Re: Requesting Mah Jongg Set Value Estimate
    Thank you so much, Tom, for the QUICK! reply.
    Bless your day,
    Bob

    You're welcome.
    Remember: more than one die is multiple dice.
    Tom


    Set value request

    On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 04:17:36 PM PST, Robert D wrote:
    Requesting Mah Jongg Set Value Estimate
    ~ Mah Jongg Set Valuation Checklist Responses ~
    Dear sloperama.com:
    I’ve attempted to follow your guidance in answering the Checklist questions from your website, plus eight (8) photos.
    The set belonged to my mother. I’m 80 years old and remember, as a child, her playing with this set often in our apartment with her friends. Therefore, I would estimate the age of the set to be at least 75 years old.
    I have no close relatives to give the set to, therefore I’d like to sell it for a fair price. Your help toward this goal will be greatly valued.
    Sincerely yours,
    Bob D
    [telephone number omitted]
    1. Write a factual detailed list of all the contents of your set. Describe all the contents, listing all dice, chips, racks, etc. If you do not know what to call the pieces, see our FAQ 7d .
    The set includes:
    a FAIR (outside condition) green leather-look case with dual brass key locks that are in working order (no key), and a plastic carry handle. Inside the case is in GOOD condition and contains an oval label with a crown insignia above the word “ROYAL” in caps; two VERY GOOD condition hard, lined tile containers, one with a compartment for die; five GOOD CONDITION tile racks, two yellow, two in different shades of green, one reddish brown; 152 tiles made of ??? (under magnification the tiles do not have the characteristics of ivory) in VERY GOOD condition, no chipping on any edges with only shallow scuff marks apparent under magnification; three die in GOOD condition, two matching, one not matching; a manual counter wheel in GOOD condition; a bag of assorted color chips, approximately 100, in VERY GOOD condition.
    152 TILES: there are 36 DOTS - four rows each of 1 - 9; 36 CRACKS - four rows each of 1 - 9; 36 BAMS - four rows each of 1 - 9; 16 WINDS - four rows each of E S W N; 12 DRAGONS - four rows each; four FLOWERS; eight JOKERS (pasted”JOKER” labels). Virtually all tiles are very clean, very smooth with slightly rounded corners, and possess a light butterscotch color, with no odor or evidence of any staining or mildew. The tiles are uniform in size and each measures: L = 31mm W = 21mm D = 10mm.

    Hi, Bob.
    To boil down what you wrote: it's a complete American set of VG tiles in a Fair case. The condition of the bits and pieces doesn't warrant any change or material difference in that assessment. A buyer of the set could well want to replace the case (we're not talking collectible here - we're talking a set to use in play, American-style) and maybe even some of the bits and pieces. You can probably get $150 for the set; you might be able to get more if you're patient and you polish the brass rack ends or otherwise make the set look shiny and clean.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Groundhog Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. Regarding "dice" versus "die" - "dice" is plural and "die" is singular. When you have more than one die, you have "dice."


    Age or value of this set, part 2

    On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 04:42:41 AM PST, Lynne N wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jong Q+A
    Hi Tom,
    Thank you very much for your help. Have a great day,
    Lynne
    Sent from my iPad

    You're welcome, Lynne!
    Tom


    Rule 16 (Suzhou mah-jongg)

    On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 03:27:58 AM PST, Petr M wrote:
    Question about a fan in Suzhou mahjong
    Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    several years ago I talked to a Chinese guy from Suzhou, and he told me they played their variant where Dragons are replaced like flowers (so they have 20 flowers in the wall: 8 usual and 12 "dragonian"). He even sent me a text in Chinese with fans of their variant. I read them, and one question remained after reading about one fan called "dumplings". But I haven't asked him about it in time, and now I can't reach him. Also, I think you'll be interested in this mahjong variant. I add that Chinese text in the end, and the fan I want to ask about is fan #16 "bao jiaozi" (???). I see that it has something with kongs, but I can't understand what it is exactly. Could you please help with it? Maybe you met something like it already? Thank you.
    With best regards,
    Peter

      ==========================================
      Suzhou Mahjong
      苏州麻将成牌后,给付多少钱由花的多少来决定,花是累计的;
      例如:有人清一色七对,5个花,自摸后,应该算花:
      清一色10+七对15+成牌5+花5*2+自摸=120;
      如果按5银子/花算,那么每人应该给付40*5=200银子;
      如果是谁出冲,则由他一人给付200银子;
      逃跑:玩家逃跑扣基础分(银子)*120个花
      具体算法如下:
      1、底:5花
      2、硬花:指中发白,梅兰竹菊,春夏秋冬,4百搭,4大白板,每个1花
      3、明杠:1花(筒万条)
      4、暗杠:2花(筒万条4个一样的在手上选择的杠)
      5、字碰:1花(东南西北碰)
      6、暗刻:2花(东南西北3个牌在手上)
      7、字明杠:3花(东南西北杠)
      8、字暗杠:4花(东南西北在手上选择杠)
      9、小门清:5花(不吃不碰不明杠)
      10、大门清:10花(没有风碰,杠,暗刻,没有硬花)
      11、对对胡:5花(以对子的方式构成胡牌,能碰出杠出胡牌,也能不吃不碰胡出,手上以暗刻方式)
      12、混一色:5花(一色牌加字牌胡出)
      13、七对子:10花(手上胡出,必须有7个对子)
      14、清一色:10花(一色牌)
      15、杠开(摸花杠,胡牌叫花开,明暗杠,胡牌叫杠开):5花(摸花和明暗杠,从杠头上摸上的牌胡牌)
      16、包饺子:一人支付3倍费用(放给玩家杠,此杠牌玩家杠开),算杠开

      17、抢杠:一人支付3倍费用(有玩家碰了一对,然后摸牌杠此牌,这时有玩家可以胡这个牌),可以多人抢杠,每家都付3倍费用,小牌遵循3花以上(包括3花,抢杠当自摸),才能抢杠。
      18、大吊车:5花(玩家碰杠后,手上只剩1张牌时胡牌)
      19、天胡:50花(庄起手14张牌,在没打任何牌之前胡牌)
      20、地胡:50花(闲起手13张牌,摸第一张牌的时候胡牌)
      21、海底捞月:5花(玩家摸最后一张牌胡牌)

    Hi, Peter.
    Unfortunately, I cannot read Chinese and I am not familiar with the Suzhou variant. 囧
    The word 包 (bao) is usually used for penalties in Chinese mah-jongg variants. Bao also means dumplings, so I figured that the Google translation "dumpling-making" was just because mah-jongg terms are obscure. But even when I remove 包 and Google just 饺子 I still get dumplings, so the name of the rule does seem to include dumplings.
    The full translation I get from your text is:

      After Suzhou Mahjong is made, the amount of money paid is determined by the amount of money spent, and the amount of money spent is cumulative;
      For example: there are seven pairs of all colors and 5 flowers. After touching, they should be counted as flowers:
      All 10+seven pairs of 15+made cards 5+flowers 5*2+self-draw=120;
      If you calculate as 5 silver/spend, then each person should pay 40*5=200 silver;
      If it is who is out of charge, he will pay 200 silver;
      Escape: Players will deduct basic points (silver) *120 flowers for escaping

      The specific algorithm is as follows:

      1. Bottom: 5 flowers
      2. Hard flowers: refers to white in the middle, plum, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum, spring, summer, autumn and winter, 4 wild, 4 large white boards, 1 flower each
      3. Ming bars: 1 flower (ten thousand tubes)
      4. Concealed bars: 2 flowers (4 tens of thousands of bars selected in the hand)
      5. Word touch: 1 flower (Southeast, Northwest touch)
      6. Dark engraving: 2 flowers (3 cards in the south, east, north and west)
      7. Clear bars: 3 flowers (Southeast, Northwest bars)
      8. Concealed Kong: 4 flowers (select the Kong in your hand)
      9. Xiaomenqing: 5 flowers (don't eat or touch the unknown bar)
      10. The gate is clear: 10 flowers (no wind bumps, bars, secretly carved, no hard flowers)
      11. Right-to-right Hu: 5 flowers (to form a Hu card in a pair, you can play the Hu card with the bar, or you can not eat without touching the Hu card, the hand is engraved in secret)
      12. Mixed one-color: 5 flowers (one-color cards plus name cards are out)
      13. Seven pairs: 10 flowers (there must be 7 pairs)
      14. All in one color: 10 flowers (one color card)
      15. Kongkai (touching the Hua Kong, Hu card bidding, bright and dark kong, Hu card bidding the kong): 5 flowers (touching the flower and bright and dark kong, draw the Hu card from the head of the kong)
      16. Dumpling making: one person pays 3 times the fee (the player is given a kong, and the player with this kong card opens), and the kong is opened.
      17. Kick grab: one person pays 3 times the fee (a player touches a pair, and then draws the card, then some player can use the card), multiple people can grab the kong, and each family pays 3 times the fee. Only if the cards follow 3 suits or more (including 3 suits, grab the kong when self-draw), can you grab the kong.
      18. Big crane: 5 flowers (after the player touches the bar, only 1 card is left in the hand)
      19. Tianhu: 50 flowers (the banker starts with 14 cards, and Hu cards before playing any cards)
      20. Di Hu: 50 flowers (13 cards in the idle hand, Hu cards when the first card is drawn)
      21. Haidilao Moon: 5 flowers (the player draws the last card Hu card)

    Note that your writeup uses the word for "flower" for "fan." Number 16 seems to have something to do with an exposed kong. It might mean there's a penalty if the dealer's (?) first (?) discard is taken by someone else to expose a kong.
    Or when a player is dealt a kong and melds the kong as his/her first (?) play. Then maybe another player can rob it if the kong tile is that player's winning (hu) tile?
    But that's the best I can guess.

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


    How does Robbing The Kong work, part 2

    On Monday, February 1, 2021, 06:59:30 PM PST, nadreb wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you very much for your answer Tom.
    Cheers
    Nadia
    Sent from my Huawei phone

    You're welcome, Nadia.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    Age or value of this set

    On Monday, February 1, 2021, 11:06:01 AM PST, Lynne N wrote:
    Mah-Jong Q+A
    Hi Tom,
    I am helping my Mom downsize her home and we found this set that she recalls from her childhood. My grandfather travelled a lot during the 1920-1940’s and she recalled him bringing this home for her from China. I have been reading your message board as I don’t know anything about these sets so thank you for the great information. If you could provide any further information as to rough age or value of this set I would greatly appreciate it.
    1- it contains 130 tiles along with a green and red spinner, 6 small dice and some very small chips ...like poker chips but small in blue green and red
    2- tiles look in good condition except some of the green backs have come off ...maybe 10 percent of them
    3-tile material looks like Bakelite ...butterscotch colour on top and green on the bottom
    4- it contains one book callled Chinese game of four winds
    5- it is in a cardboard box that is marked Kwong Fat Cheung - this box has fallen apart on the seam and does show some water damage
    Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated...Lynne

    Hi, Lynne. I'm sorry that I don't have good news for you. You wrote:

    it contains 130 tiles along with a green and red spinner, 6 small dice and some very small chips
    Translation: a lot of tiles are missing. There is a disc-style wind indicator, 6 dice, and an uncounted number of chips (there are at least 3 chips, possibly more than that).

    tiles look in good condition except some of the green backs have come off ...maybe 10 percent of them
    We don't call it "good" condition when the tiles have come apart. We call that "poor" condition. See FAQ 7-H.

    tile material looks like Bakelite
    No. Bakelite (Catalin) tiles are shiny. What you have is what collectors these days call "Chinese Bakelite." I don't know what the plastic's actual name is.

    it contains one book callled Chinese game of four winds
    The full title is actually "Directions of Playing 'Chinese Game of Four Winds.'"

    it is in a cardboard box that is marked Kwong Fat Cheung - this box has fallen apart on the seam and does show some water damage
    Then the case is in Poor condition.

    information as to rough age
    I visited the Kwong Fat Cheung factory in Hong Kong (the company is still in business, as far as I know); see https://www.sloperama.com/hk/hkmj.html. I don't know when the company was founded. This cheap cardboard type of case may have been made in the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties... I don't know when manufacturers stopped making glued-together two-tone tiles that sometimes become separated. I don't know when manufacturers started making disc-style wind indicators. My best guess as to the set's age is maybe 40-50 years, give or take a couple of decades.

    or value
    The case is in Poor condition, and many of the tiles are missing or in Poor condition (the fronts are separated from the backs). Because so many tiles are missing, the set is useless for playing mah-jongg with. Its only utility is for someone who needs it for parts. Rough guess: maybe $10.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


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