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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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confused, buh?
Something I picked up several years ago: A really, really nice Mah-Jongg set. I don't know why, it was one of those impulse buys and I think I was only 10 or 11 at the flea market. Whatever, I'm glad now that I made the purchase; it's a nice set. The trick now is to find three other people curious about this Chinese form of Rummy.

Then the trick is finding a legible set of directions for the game. The ones included with the set are not particularly helpful in this regard. The game is, apparently, authentically Chinese, as the rules only bear a vague resemblance to English. Help with any leads on actually interpretable directions are welcomed.

But some quotes:

If one has in hand three of a kind taken a same one given out by one of the other three players, one has th put all these cards down with their faces turned upward, and at the same time take an additional card from the rear. This is termed. The visible four of a Kind.

Three cards may be numberically combind in one set For instance 1, 2 and of 4, 5 and etc.. of the same variety may be formed in one set.

If four sets of cards haye already been formed and one single card is left in hand it is necessary for the player to wait for the same card in order to win, such a pair is termed. "The head of the bird". It will be impossible to win should there be no such pair.

The games is limited to 4 persons.

Determination of positions: The seats of the players are fixed as follows: Place 4 "DIRECTION" cards namely,

East, South, West and North with face downwards and mix them up.

The players then take their seats at random. Any of the four may throw the dice and see what will turn out.

Position of the person who throws the dice will count as Nos 5 and 9
Position opposite him 7 and 11
Position to his right 6 and 10
Position to his left 8 and 12

EXAMPLE: Suppose a person throws the dice and the result turns out to be 10- Then the person to his right will take the first of the 4 cards from the end which is previously being designated by the thrower of the dice.

The position of the person who throws the dice is EAST and the one who picks the East card takes that position and the others may arrange their positions according to the EAST, position in the following order, vis. EAST SOUTH WEST and NORTH always counting them from right to left.

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There's at least 5 different schools of MJ with different rules.. err.. good luck.

I'd suggest a book like The Game of Mah Jongg Illustrated by Patricia A. Thompson. It's about $10 in paperback. Other similar titles are available. They cover the basic game and the various playing styles and 'enhanced' versions. Public libraries often have these books

Avoid the publications of the American Mah Jongg League or similar clubs. These groups play very specialized versions that require a lot of memorization work. Only specific combinations of tiles are allowed to win, rather than the generic three of a kind, four of a kind, pairs and sequences.

It's an interesting game, if you can find four players. The difficulty is not as high as bridge, somewhere between rummy and pinochle. Like card players, good Mah Jongg players learn to play 'poker faced' to avoid revealing their intentions, and to remember every single tile that has been exposed and where it went.

Ah, the click of the tiles. The uncomprehensible muttering ("4 bam", "3 dragon"). The candy! [We always got to nibble on the candy my mom put out on Mah-Jongg nights]

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