Updated: Jan 25, 2022
Mahjong is a skill and chance game that is similar to rummy in that the goal is to gather related groups of tiles. However, the set of tiles and rules are far more complex than in rummy.
Mahjong is a skill and chance game that is similar to rummy in that the goal is to gather related groups of tiles. However, the set of tiles and rules are far more complex than in rummy. Mahjong, like Chinese chess, is widely played in teahouses, and the clattering of tiles on tables is a common sound. Originally composed of bone, bamboo, or ivory, the tiles are now constructed of plastic. It is frequently played for low stakes.
The tile suits (Dot/ Circle, Character, Bamboo) are based on money. Copper coins in ancient China have a square hole in the center. To bind coins into strings, people threaded a rope through the openings. Usually, these strings are in groups of 100 coins (diao) or 1000 coins (called guan).
Each tile is made up of a number of circles, each representing a single copper coin.
Each tile symbolizes ten thousand coins, or one hundred strings of one hundred coins, as indicated by the name.
Each tile (excluding Bamboo 1, which features a bird perched on a bamboo) is made out of a number of bamboo sticks. Each stick is claimed to represent a hundred-coin-long string.
A further category of tiles would be the four Honour tiles, each representing one direction, namely East, South, West and North
Red, green, and white dragon tiles. It is said that the three dragon tiles represent the Cardinal Virtues bequeathed by Confucius: red- benevolence, green- sincerity, white- filial piety. In his 1920 book introducing Mahjong to America, Joseph Park Babcock coined the word "dragon tile" as a western term. These tiles were originally thought to be connected to the Chinese Imperial Examination. The red tile indicates that you passed the exam and will be appointed as a government officer. As a result of the green tile, you will become financially prosperous. The white tile means that because a person is doing well they should act like a good, incorruptible official. It usually has a blue border to differentiate it from replacement tiles and deter players from surreptitiously adding lines to win.
Flowers Flower tiles are usually optional additions to a set of mahjong tiles, and these tiles frequently include artwork on them. Many individuals choose not to utilize these tiles since they make winning and earning bonus points easier. If you don't have any flowers in your hand, for example, you gain an additional point.
Seasonal tiles representing spring, summer, autumn, and winter
There are numerous different types of Mah Jong, just like many other traditional games, which makes it difficult to locate the official set of rules. The first set of rules is based on the original Chinese game, which is the most basic and likely the most difficult to master. Extra rules for the British game are also included. Because only one chow is permitted per hand, and the Chinese game has fewer "special hands," this version differs slightly from the traditional Chinese game. Although some people will prefer the British game over the Chinese game, the Chinese game is more elegant and traditional.
Both games are very different from the traditional manner of play in the United States, where a huge and intricate set of "special hands" has been devised in addition to the original Chinese set, and where a player cannot play Mah Jong with more than one suit in hand. It's also more strategic than the Japanese form of play, which is really a race to see who can be the first to go out because the only player who gets paid is the one who goes Mah Jong.
It normally has at least 136 tiles (four copies of each of the Suit and Honor Tiles), but sets from the United States or Southeast Asia usually have extra tiles in the form of flowers or Jokers.
Mahjong is a game of skill, strategy, and luck, similar to the Western card game rummy.