What You Need To Play: An American Mah Jongg Set consisting of 8 Flowers, 8 Jokers, 4 Red Dragons, 4 Green Dragons, 4 Soap(White) Dragons, 4 North Winds, 4 East Winds, 4 West Winds, 4 South Winds, 1-9 Craks Suit(4 of each number), 1-9 Bams Suit(4 of each number) and 1-9 Dots Suit(4 of each number), 4 racks, 2 dice and 4 Mah Jongg Cards.
Object: The object of the game is to be the first player to complete a hand on the Mah Jongg card.
Setting Up: One rack is placed in front of each player. It holds your tiles while you are playing. The four racks will form a square. The 152 tiles are placed face down in the middle of the square formed by the racks and shuffled. Each player takes 38 tiles from the center of the table and sets up a wall in front of their rack that is 19 rows across of 2 tiles high, all stacked face down. All 152 tiles should now be in walls and no tiles should be left in the center of the table.
Dealing: Each player rolls 2 dice. The player with the highest number rolled becomes East. East pushes their wall out to the center of the table and takes 4 tiles(2 stacks of 2 tiles). Then the player to the right takes 4 tiles. This continues counterclockwise until 2 tiles remain in the first wall. The player to the left of East pushes out their wall and adds the 2 remaining tiles to the end of it. Then picking 4 tiles each continues counterclockwise until all players have 12 tiles in front of them. East then takes the first and third top tile on the wall in the center of the table and going counterclockwise the rest of the players each take 1 tile from the end of the wall. At the start of each game, East will have 14 tiles and all other players will have 13 tiles. Dealing is now complete and all the players can put their tiles on their racks for sorting and analyzing which hands to play.
Sorting your Tiles: Start by putting your tiles on your rack. Next group your tiles by suit. Place any flowers together on the left side of your rack. Place any Winds to the right side of your rack. Place any dragons with their appropriate suit. When you organize your tiles, it helps you to be able to pick a hand to go for on the Mah Jongg card.
The Charleston: It is an exchange of unwanted tiles for a chance to improve your hand. It is also the last step before play starts. Each player selects 3 unwanted tiles and passes them to the player on the right. Next 3 tiles are selected and passed to the player across from them. Then 3 tiles are selected and passed to the left player. A second round of the Charleston is then performed. All players select 3 tiles and pass them to the left player again. Next all players pass 3 tiles to the player across from them. Then all players pass 3 tiles to the right player. The final pass to the player across from you is called a Courtesy Pass and it completes the Charleston. It can be for 0, 1, 2, or 3 tiles. During the Courtesy Pass, players across from each other must pass each other the same amount of tiles. Any player for any reason can stop the Charleston after the first left pass and before the second left pass. If the Charleston has been stopped, a courtesy pass is performed and that completes the Charleston.
Blind Pass: Blind passing(Stealing) occurs during the Charleston. If there are tiles in your hand that you don’t want to pass, you can choose to pass a tile that is being passed to you. You can choose 1, 2 or all 3 tiles. If you choose to do a blind pass, you are not to look at the tiles you pass on. Blind passes are done during the last pass of each Charleston. They are done during the first left pass and the last right pass.
Play: The East player discards an unwanted tile face up in the center of the table. The player to East’s right can either take that tile or draw a new tile from the wall in the center of the table. Then that player discards an unwanted tile from their hand to the center of the table. Play continues counterclockwise with each player either picking up a discarded tile or drawing a new tile and then discarding an unwanted tile from their hand. When all tiles have been drawn from the first wall. Then the player to East’s left pushes out their wall and play continues until the second wall is done. The player across pushes their wall out and play continue until that wall is done. Then the player to the right pushes their final wall out and play continues until that wall is done. Mah Jongg can be declared by a player at any point in the game. If all tiles have been drawn and discarded without any player calling Mah Jongg then it is called a WALL GAME and all players get zero points.
During play, it is important to keep track of the tiles on your rack. You should ALWAYS have 13 tiles. The 14th tile is the tile you need to call Mah Jongg.
Hands: Each hand on the Mah Jongg card is made up of 14 tiles. There are 2 types of hands on the Mah Jongg card. They are OPEN hands and CLOSED hands.
In a OPEN hand, a player can pick up a discarded tile in the center of the table to complete a PUNG, KONG or QUINT. The player can also pick a tile in the center of the table to complete Mah Jongg.
A PAIR means 2 of a kind in like tiles.
A PUNG means 3 of a kind in like tiles.
A KONG means 4 of a kind in like tiles.
A QUINT means 5 of a kind in like tiles.
In a CLOSED hand, the player can pick up a discarded tile in the center of the table ONLY for Mah Jongg. You will NEVER have any exposure out on your rack if you are playing a Closed hand. You can NEVER pick up a discarded tile to complete a pair.
Jokers: Jokers are ALWAYS used as wild tiles. This means a Joker can be substituted for any tile in a PUNG, KONG or QUINT. You can redeem a Joker from your own exposures. A Joker can NEVER be used in a single or pair. Jokers can NEVER be used in the year(2018) because the year is considered to be made up of single tiles. Joker/Jokers can be taken in any PUNG, KONG or QUINT exposure on your rack from any player ONLY when it is their turn. Jokers can be used in any PUNG, KONG or QUINT in an exposure. Jokers can be discarded at any time of the game. Jokers can NEVER be called if they are discarded. Jokers can also be called and exchanged from any exposure on the rack BEFORE your hand was called dead. Jokers can NEVER be passed during the Charleston.
Dragons: ONLY the Soap Dragon(also called the White Dragon) can be used for a ZERO in yearly hands. In yearly hands, the soap dragon can also be used with craks, bams or dots. Red dragons belong to the Craks suit. Green dragons belong to the Bams suit, Soap/White dragons belong to the Dots suit.
Calling a Discard: When tiles are discarded, they are placed face up in the center of the table. In order to call a discarded tile, a player must verbally and correctly call the tile by saying “call” or “take”. The discarded tile must ONLY be called when it completes a PUNG, KONG or QUINT in the player’s hand. When the discarded tile is called and picked up, the player that called it must expose their completed PUNG, KONG or QUINT face up on their rack. A discarded tile CANNOT BE PICKED UP once the next player has picked up and RACKED their tile or if he/she has discarded a tile in the center of the table. When 2 players call the same discard for exposure or for Mah Jongg, the player whose turn would be next gets the discard. You can NEVER call a discard for the year(201?) because each tile in the year is considered to be a single. When 1 player wants a discard for exposure and another player wants the same discard for Mah Jongg, the player that has Mah Jongg gets the discard.
Scoring: You can only win by 3 ways. You can either pick a tile from the wall in the center of the table, you can take another players discard or you can redeem another players Joker when it is your turn. If your winning Mah Jongg tile is one that another player discarded then that player that discarded gives double hand’s point value and everyone else gives single hand’s point value. If you have picked the winning Mah Jongg tile yourself or redeemed another players Joker then everyone gives double hand’s point value. If your hand is Jokerless and you take another players discard for Mah Jongg then you get three times the hand’s point value. If you have picked the winning Mah Jongg tile yourself and your hand is JOKERLESS then everyone gives four times hand’s point value.
Dead Hands: A hand is considered dead for the following reasons:
- Your exposure reveals a CLOSED hand
- You have too many or too few number of tiles in your hand.
- Your exposure show your hand can’t be completed.
- Your exposure doesn’t match anything on the Mah Jongg card.
Any player can call your hand dead at any time during play. The player of the dead hand stops picking and discarding immediately. The player of the dead keeps his/her hand concealed and sits out while the other players continue to play. The player of the dead hand gives the winner of that game whatever hand’s point value they won.
A player misnames their discard and another player calls it for Mah Jongg. The hand is officially over. The player that misnamed their tile gives the player that called Mah Jongg 4 times the value of their hand. The other players don’t give anything and a new game starts.
If a player misnamed a tile and another player wants it for an exposure, then the player that misnamed the tile must say the tile correctly. Once the tile is named correctly, then a player that wants it for exposure can call it. Play continues with no penalty for the player that misnamed the tile.
Mah Jongg Errors:
When Mah Jongg is called in error and the other players have not exposed their tiles then the player that had Mah Jongg in error is dead and the 3 other players finish out the hand.
When Mah Jongg is called in error and one other player exposed their hand then the 2 remaining players finish out the hand.
When Mah Jongg is claimed in error and 2 players have exposed their tiles, the game is over and a new game begins.
No Picking Ahead.
Orange Flower = Flowers, Red = Craks, Green = Bams, Blue = Dots, d = Dragons, and n,e,w,s = Winds