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Monday, May 04, 2009

~~Mahjong ^^ Mahjong~~

Recently I found myself getting hooked on to mahjong again.
I used to play a lot a few years back with my online buddies. In fact I guess I play every night and a lot of times in the day time as well. Started off not knowing how to count the fans (points in Cantonese) until one day I ask someone online where the guy taught me a little. He taught me the lazy version where you don't need to count much. If the rule is 3 fan then just play all one suit with honors or play all pong.
In mahjong, there are three suits (Bamboo suit, wan suit, circle suit):





















A pong is the three same tiles together. A chow is a meld of three running numbers like 1,2,3 or 4,5,6 or 2,3,4. You can only chow from a discard tile from the person on your left whereas a pong can be done from any tile that is discarded from any person at that time the person discards (Hope I'm not complicating things!). Of course drawing the tiles yourself is even better than taking from people's discard. That way you can surprise your opponent, ya?

Anyway, other things that can affect fan are the honor tiles and flower tiles.








From left to right, east wind, south wind, west wind, north wind, red dragon, green dragon, white dragon and flower tiles. Mahjong game starts off a round with the prevailing wind as east. After each person has been the dealer and lost as the dealer, the next round where the south wind as prevailing wind will begin. It is always in the order of east, south, west and north. Having a pong of the prevailing wind will earn you 1 fan.
The start of each round will begin with the person who is the east wind as the dealer. Next will be the person who is the south wind as the dealer. This is determined in the beginning, where each player throws three dice with the one having the highest number will be east. Also, having a pong of your own wind gains you 1 fan. So if your wind is also the prevailing wind, that means you'll get 2 fan for just having a pong of your wind.
A pong of dragons is 1 fan so if you have 2 of it, then it'll be 2 fan. But if you have all three dragons, it's 5 or 6 fan (depends on which variation of mahjong you're playing). If a two pongs of dragons and one dragon pair, it's 4 fan.
If you draw the winning tile, that also is 1 fan. A kong is having four of the same tile and when you kong, you draw another tile. So if you kong and draw the winning tile, that is 2 fan.
As for the flowers, you notice that it has a number in each one, 1-4. 1 is east, 2 is south, 3 is west and 4 is north. Having a flower of your wind gains you 1 fan. If you have a set, 1-4 of red or blue flowers then it's 5 fan (I think).
Each player has 13 tiles and in order to win, you need to have pongs and chows (melds) along with one pair (14 tiles, since you need to draw or take the discard tile to win).

Kinda complicated game, but really addictive to me! There's many mahjong variations too and there are special winning hands like the one below:















It's called 13-yew (13 wonder) which is the limit hand. You get maximum points for that.
Well, that's all I can say on how to play mahjong. Not a very comprehensive guide, probably quite a boring one, huh? What can I say, it's such a complex game but I love it!

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