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Mahjing Tile

Learn to play American Majong

Learning to play American Majong is easy. The first step is to determine the seating arrangement of each player.

The seating arrangement is determined by throwing a pair of dice. The player who rolls the highest total will seat on the East. The player who rolls the second highest total will seat on the South. The player who rolled the third and fourth highest total will seat of the West and North, respectively.

Next is Dealing the tiles and Breaking the wall.

The 152 pieces are mixed and then placed faced down on the table. Each player then selects 38 tiles and arranges them face down in a row of 19 pieces and 2 tiles high. Then, these rows are pushed forward to form a hollow square in the middle of the table.

To determine the breaking point of the wall, East throws the two dices and counts from the right end of East side of the wall. Then East makes a break in the wall by pushing slightly the tiles to the left of the breaking point.

For example: if the total of the two throws is 8, then East counts off 8 stacks along the tiles of the top tier of the East wall, starting from the right end, and breaks the wall.

East starts the deal by taking the first two stacks of the tiles (i.e., four tiles) from the left of the break, then each of the other three players pick two stacks of tiles in order South, West and North. This is repeated twice so that each player has 12 tiles. East then draws the next stack of two tiles (top tile of the 1st and 3rd stacks), and South, West and North in turn take one tile each. Thus East has 14 tiles and the other three players each 13 tiles.

The game is now ready and new tiles will be taken from the "Wall" where the drawing of initial hand ended. East starts the game by discarding a tile faces up in the center of the table. South then draws & discards a tile, followed by West and North. Thus, the draw goes counter-clockwise around the table, unless a tile is thrown which a player can claim. In that case, the turn jumps to the respective player's position.

When a player discards a tile, any of the other players may pick up the discarded tile if he/she has a set, which may be completed by the discarded tile. However, a drawback of this action is that the player must now expose the completed set to the others, thus providing them a glimpse of what kind of hand he/she is creating. A player can pick up a discarded tile to complete one of the following sets:

  • Pung - a set of 3 identical tiles. A player must say "Pung" when he/she gets another player's discarded tile to form the combination. The player then must show the created set and then discard a tile. The next player (counterclockwise) will then have the next turn.

  • Kong - a set of 4 identical tiles. A player must say "Kong" when he/she gets another player's discarded tile to form the combination. The player then must show the created set and then discard a tile. The next player (counterclockwise) will then have the next turn.

  • Quint - a set of 5 identical tiles. A player must say "Quint" when he/she gets another player's discarded tile to form the combination. The player then must show the created set and then discard a tile. The next player (counterclockwise) will have the next turn.

  • Sextet - a set of 6 identical tiles. A player must say "Sextet" when he/she gets another player's discarded tile to form the combination. The player then must show the created set and discard a tile. The next player (counterclockwise) will then have the next turn.

  • Pair - An Eye, or a Pair, are two identical tiles. It cannot be created with discarded tiles unless to declare a win / Majong.

If two players are claiming a discarded tile at the same time, then the Claim Priority is in effect.

  • Win (Majong) has priority over other claims.
  • A player next in turn has priority over other players.

Waiting to Win

A player with one tile short of winning the game is considered to have a "ready hand". This is called "waiting" because that player is basically waiting for certain tiles to complete his hand.

Winning

When a player creates a set of hand or "Majong", he wins the game. A winning hand consists of combinations of pung, kong, quint, pair or special hands as described in the yearly standard hands and rules published by National Mah Jongg League.

After a game is completed (whether by a winning hand or no winner after the last tile in the wall has been picked), the player to the right becomes the new dealer (East) as the wind / seating position rotate counterclockwise.

Round

In Majong, there are 4 rounds: East, South, West and North Round.

Within each round, the winds / seating position will rotate as follows: East, South, West, North (counterclockwise). This also happens in the event of a dead hand (where nobody wins).

Thus, there are total of 16 hands in one complete game of Majong.