Rules of Mah Jong
The more sophisticated game was developed in the 1930’s from the Chinese national pastime that is played for serious gambling. The Chinese learn as children from oral instruction and observation passed through generations in many regions, countries and dialects, which leads to varying rules.
The western game also differs from club to club with essentially the sames objectives but varying in detail. It is still a gambling game played with counters for simple scoring, but there is no exchange of money. The player who wins most frequently, in spite of chance, is the most skilful in achieving a winning hand, transforming perhaps, a weak hand at the outset to a good one.
The object is to collect three identical tiles, called a pung, or four called a kong, until all thirteen tiles in the player’s hand are in sets of three, or four, and a final pair, the last extra tile being called out to make fourteen and “Mahjong”.
The four winds are very important, each player becoming east, with a payout of double the score if not the winner, or collecting twice the amout when winning the game. Added interest are the four winds, each one becoming the most important wind for a game.
Mahjong consists of many games with these changes of wind importance: at least sixteen games make one “Mahjong” final. Variations lead to many more and our group stops when the time limit of 4.30pm is reached, the final Mahjong rarely reached.
The Mahjong group had great fun together playing this endlessly changing and interesting social game, with some satisfying exercise of cunning to outwit opponents in spite of awkward lady luck. Part of the happy evening is the half time break with tea and chat among friends.