Online Mahjong

Playing online mahjong has only just begun to surface on the internet and is bound to become increasingly popular. There aren't many places where you can play mahjong online yet but we will keep this list up to date as it starts to become more available.

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Overview of Mahjong

The game has many slight variations on its name, depending on who is talking about it, from Cantonese (ma jeung) to Japanese (majan) and more in between. The game started in China where it was called 麻雀 and today it's still called that in a lot of areas. Still the main name the game is referred to is 麻將 throughout Mandarin-speaking neighborhoods.

The Aim of Mahjong

The game is played by four players who compete to finish a hand. A finished (winning) hand comprises four sets of three or four tiles in a suit as well as an identical pair of any suit. The sets can be identical triplets or quadruplets, or in a sequence, such as 1, 2, 3; or 5, 6, 7).

The Table and Set Up in a Typical Mahjong Game

So the players sit around a square table which places them at an equal distance apart from each other. The table is important in Mahjong since each of the sides represent the four winds (north, south, east, west). All Mahjong tiles are put face down on the table and thereafter shuffled. Players must pick up 36 tiles from the table and arrange them in two rows of 18, stacking one on top of the other. These stacks are pushed to the middle of the table to make a square. Each player is designated to one of the winds (hence 4 players). The one who is at the east has to roll the two dice. He represents '1' and the player to his right, represents '2.' The dice roller carries on counting from right to left until he hits the number that he rolled on the dice. At this point seven stacks must be counted from right to left on the selected player's wall. These are put aside for later in the game when flowers are exchanged. At this point, players can begin to take tiles and in different versions, it is from a different place, depending on what the specific players decide.

Sometimes the selected player (the one who is chosen according to what number was rolled on the dice) must roll again to decide where along the wall the other players can start taking tiles from. But this doesn't always happen. Sometimes it's the number that was rolled that leads to the decision about where about along the wall of the player should the other players start taking tiles. Next the east player takes two stacks of two tiles, as does the player to the right (after the east player) and this carries to the right until all players have taken three double stacks. Another tile is picked up by all players so that they have a total of 13; but the east player has another one so he/she ends up with 14. Then it's time to arrange the tiles.

Flowers in Mahjong

Any flower a player has must be 'retired' to the right hand corner of the table, face up. Then a tile is taken from the flower pile to replace that retired one but the flowers always get extra points.

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