Books About Mah-Jongg

Want to learn more about the ancient game of Mah-Jongg? Here is a list for suggested reading:

THE COMPLETE BOOK OF MAH-JONGG 1987 by A.D. Millington, Wiedenfeld & Nicolson, ISBN 0-213-16951-7
Describes in exacting detail the Classical Chinese Mah-Jongg as played in the West, and gives an excellent history of the evolution of Mah-Jongg in the twentieth century. See if you can find it at the library or on the Internet -- this book is a treasure for students of the classical game.

MAH-JONGG; BASIC RULES & STRAGEGIES 1998 by Dieter Kohnen, Sterling Publications; ISBN 0-8069-0752-5
A new book that not only describes the Classical Chinese game as played in the West, but is also easily available for purchase in the United States. (It's not as in-depth as Millington, but just try to find a copy of Millington if you live in the US.) The book's special hands include seven-pair hands (so it's not "pure" classical Chinese) and the book even includes one all-too-brief page about the Japanese game.

MAH JONGG MADE EASY 1984 by National Mah Jongg League (No ISBN #)
This rulebook describes the fine points of the NMJL rules. Rule changes since 1984 are not reflected in this book, unfortunately. Yearly special hand cards (i.e. member dues) cost $5.00. Write to NMJL, 250 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10107

THE CHINESE GAME OF MAHJONG 1979 by Samuel K. Perlmen and Mark Kai-Chi Chan, Book Marketing Ltd., ISBN 962-211-0169
This excellent book describes the game as played today in Hong Kong; covers both Old Style and New Style. Available through http://www.ninedragons.com, http://www.amazon.co.uk, or write to: Book Marketing Ltd., North Point Industrial Bldg., 499 King's Road 17/F Flat A, North Point, Hong Kong.

LET'S PLAY MAHJONG! by Benny Constantino, 1990, Federal Publications, ISBN 962-302-129-1
Briefly (very briefly) describes Hong Kong "old style" Mah-Jongg. Not as in-depth as Perlmen & Chan. Write to: Federal Publications Ltd., Units 903-905, Tower B, 9/F, Hunghom Commercial Centre, 37 Ma Tau Wai Road, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Tel 334-2421.

THE HAPPY GAME OF MAH-JONG by David H. Li, Premier Publishing, ISBN 0-9637852-3-0
Takes a scholastic approach in teaching the Hong Kong "old style" game. Premier Publishing, Box 341267, Bethesda MD 20827 and available on the Internet. **

INTERNATIONAL MAHJONG RULES by Cofa Tsui, 1998, ISBN 0968368700
Hong Kong "old style." Available from the IMJ website (http://www.cofatsui.com/mahjong.html) or from www.amazon.com for $20. Paperback - 17 pages. **

MAH JONGG; WRIGHT-PATTERSON RULES 1963-1996 by Wright-Patterson Mah Jongg Group. (No ISBN #)
This Western game is the one played by officers' wives on American military bases; it's basically similar to the game described by Strauser & Evans and Thompson & Maloney but has more special hands, and other specific differences. If you play by the Wright-Patterson rules, no other book will do! Write to OWC Mah Jongg, WPAFB OWC, P.O. Box 67, Fairborn, OH 45324

MAH JONG, ANYONE? 1964 by K. Strauser & L. Evans, Charles E. Tuttle Co., ISBN 0-8048-0390-0
This book describes the Western rules (not the NMJL rules and not the WPAFB rules) of Mah-Jongg. This has long been one of the easiest-to-find Mah-Jongg books in America, and does a good job of describing the "vanilla" Western game.

THE GAME OF MAH JONG ILLUSTRATED 1990 by P. Thompson & B. Maloney, Kangaroo Press, ISBN 0-86417-302-4
This book describes Western mah-jongg, as it is played in Australia (very similar to the game described by Strauser & Evans). Brief mention of Classical Chinese rules. The descriptions of the Western special tile combinations are accompanied by pictures, which makes the book larger yet in some ways easier to use than Strauser & Evans.

IMPROVE YOUR MAH JONG 1991 by P. Thompson & B. Maloney, Kangaroo Press, ISBN 0-86417-398-9
Western rules in more detail for players who have already mastered the basics of Western mah-jongg. Emphasis is on scoring, and pictures of the special tile combinations. Brief mention of Classical Chinese rules.

THE MAH JONG PLAYER'S COMPANION 1997 by P. Thompson & B. Maloney, Kangaroo Press, ISBN 0-86417-891-3
In-depth strategy guide for players of the Western game. How to turn a random hand into a Western special hand. This book is not for beginners -- the rules of the game are not described in the book. This is Western strategy, only.

A MAH JONG HANDBOOK 1964 by E. Whitney, Charles E. Tuttle Co., ISBN 0-8048-0392-7
This book describes the classic Chinese, Western, and Japanese rules as they were 30 years ago. If you are new to mah-jongg, this book is not recommended (it's too difficult to sort out the rules for the game you want to learn from the two games you don't want to learn). This book is, however, an excellent reference for those already knowledgeable in various ways of playing mah-jongg.

HOW TO PLAY MAH JONG 1993 by K. J. Carkner, Penguin Books Australia Ltd., ISBN 0 14 017638 1
A pocket-sized book that packs a lot of solid information about Chinese, Western, and even a couple of pages about Japanese Classical rules, and seems to do a pretty good job keeping them separate from one another (unlike Whitney). Available for purchase on the Internet.

KNOW THE GAME: MAH-JONG 1994 by Gwyn Headley &Yvonne Seeley, A & C Black. ISBN 0 7136 3742 0.
Produced in association with the British Mah-Jong Association (BMJA, whose president is also a Seeley). The official BMJA game uses the classical Chinese rules (there is no Charleston), but the book takes into account some popular Western hands (Knitting, for instance) and features (Goulash; limit of one chow per hand). Describes rules for home play and also tournament rules. Available through http://www.amazon.co.uk.

THE GAME OF MAHJONG 1974 by Max Robertson, Whitcoulls (New Zealand), ISBN 0 7233 0306 1
A "Handy Little Book" which describes Western-style rules; the book is widely used in English-speaking countries outside North America. Available on the Internet from Whitcoulls.

MAH JONG FOR BEGINNERS 1952 by S. Kanai & M. Farrell, Charles E. Tuttle Co., ISBN 0-8048-0391-9
This book describes the classic Japanese rules as they were 45 years ago. This book introduces the beginner to the basics of the Japanese game, but few in Japan play the game this way today. Modern popular rules (Reach and Dora, for example) are not described in this book.

** - Note: the books marked with a double asterisk use non-standard terminology.

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