How To Play Mahjong
In learning how to play Mahjong, remember that it is very similar to Rummy, with just a few variations. There are variations in the rules of Mahjong, but the rules that follow are the staple basics.
The players simply need to collect tiles in sequence, three tiles the same, or four tiles the same. These are referred to as Chow, Pung, and Kong, respectively, in traditional Chinese terms. In order to make these collections, tiles must be drawn, then held or cast out, until the required sequences and matches are formed. The player must always have thirteen tiles in hand, and cast out those not needed, or if too many tiles are help. Other players use the cast out tiles to form their own “Mahjong,” or finished hand.
Tiles Of Mahjong
Mahjong does not use the classic suits known in cards, hearts; diamonds, clubs, and spades, but rather a variation. These include the Bamboos, Circles, Wans and Winds and Dragons. This can get confusing, but if a player learning how to play Mahjong simply follows the shown numbers on the tiles, and uses them as they would in other card games, all the same rules apply.
There are four duplicates of each tile in the Mahjong suits. There are also bonus tiles, known as Flowers and Seasons, which show no number ad are not used to play the game. They are simply collected by the player who receives them, and count towards bonus points.
Playing The Game
Mahjong must always be played by four people, no more and no less, with each player designated a wind, or simply, a position at the table. These positions are referred to as east, south, west and north, with the player sitting at east starting the game. This player starts with fourteen tiles, and must cast one out to have thirteen in his hand, and start the game. Importantly for Mhajoong, and those learning how to play Mahjong, are the aspects here that differ from classic Rummy.
In Mahjong the tiles are arranged in the centre of the table, to create what is referred to as a wall. This wall has four points, or edges, designated by the positions of the player, and referred to as a stakes. Tiles are arranged at these stakes. When east has played and cast out a tile, the player to the left of him may then play, and use the tile that has been cast out. When a hand is finished, the positions of the winds, or player positions, change counter clockwise. East again starts.
Collecting And Discarding Tiles
The important, and tricky part of Mahjong, is deciding which tiles to keep and which to discard. Those learning how to play Mahjong may get a hand that seems to have much potential, with the possibility of getting a third tile for multiple suits. Keep in mind that in order to achieve Mahjong, or have all your tiles forming a combination of sets, as in Rummy, you may use sets on the table, and those in your hand. The first player with tiles that are all part of a sequence is the winner, and the hand is over.
Remember that final scoring is effected by those lucky enough to draw the Flowers and Seasons tiles. These are the basic rules for Australians learning how to play Mahjong.