Playing Mah Jong with British rules follows the same gameplay, however, scoring does vary. With Mah Jong British rules, 15 tiles, rather than 13 are distributed to each player, but the ultimate goal of being the first to call "Mah Jong" and having the most points at the end of a 16 round series is the same!
Mah Jong Tiles
The tiles used for Mah Jong British rules are the same as in any other variety of the game, and are outlined below:
Mah Jong is played with different categories of tiles that fall into suits like in cards. The following categories of tiles are applicable in all varieties of Mah Jong.
Stones - stone tiles have patterns of circles
Bamboos - bamboo tiles have sticks of bamboo in varying patterns
Characters - character tiles have Chinese characters on them
Wind Tiles - wind tiles have the East, South, North and West Winds.
Dragon tiles - dragon tiles have images of dragons; each of the three have a different meaning
Flowers - flower tiles have different flower patterns. Not all players in Mah Jong choose to use these tiles, but some do keep them for the bonus points
Here is the basic process of a Mah Jong Game; it is followed in all versions of the classic Chinese game although some other rules that vary will be outlined below:
- The dealer (East Wind) is determined based on a throw of the dice. The player with the highest score is the East Wind and then everyone else at the table is given a role going clockwise (South, West then North)
- Begnning with the East players, 4 pieces are drawn at a time until all players at the table have a total of 12
- Three more tiles are drawn after each player has 12 to make 15 total
- Players can arrange their tiles in order and in suit to help with strategy, and should make sure no other players can see their tiles
- If players have tiles with the flowers or seasons, they can be discarded in exchange for another tile on the Mah Jong wall
- To start playing, the East player goes first; every player can discard one tile face-up and exchange it for a new tile on the wall. Players turns go in order clockwise
- Once the first round is completed, players can choose to draw from a discarded tile in the middle of the table or from the Mah Jong Wall. In order to draw a discard tile players must be able to use it right away to make 3 of a kind
Types of Sets in Mah Jong
- In Mah Jong, there are three types of sets primarily that players should build
- A Pung - 3 identical tiles in a set (3x Red Dragons or 3x Two Circles)
- A Kong - 4 identical tiles in a set (4x Eight of Bamboos or 4x North Winds)
- A Chow - 3 tiles of the same suit.
In Mah Jong British rules there are additional Special Hands which can be played, including:
- All Pair Honors - 7 pairs of ones/nines/winds/dragons (half limit award)
- Fourfold Plenty - 4 kongs and a pair (limit award)
- Knitting - No winds or dragons including, but 7 pairs of tiles in any two of three suits (half limit award)
- Triple Knitting- 5 sets of 3 tiles of different pairs and suits, not including Winds or Dragons (half limit award)
- The Gates of Heaven - concealed Pung of 1's, concealed pung of 9's, a run from 2 to 8 with a pair in the same suit (limit award)
- Imperial Jade - green tiles of Pungs/Kongs and a pair. This means that players must have Green Dragons plus 2's, 3's, 4's, 6's and 8's of Bamboos
- The goal of each round of Mah Jong is to go out, but ultimately it is the score that determines where a player stands in the game or series
In Mah Jong the scoring system is rather complicated; there's a standard structure for scoring on each hand, however, bonus points and doubling can apply for specific hands