Official Mahjong Rules Instructions 2023: Best How To Play Guide

Then you have the Honor tiles, which are Red Dragons, Green Dragons and the White Dragons – the White Dragon is a pure white tile. To break this down further, there are 34 different kinds of tiles. There is the Chinese rules version, British rules version and American rules version, to name just a few. By changing the rules, you can play Mahjong with five people too. This is a great option if you are a beginner and want to practice. A dropped tile has either touched the surface of the table or been announced. Mahjong is immediately made by West, North or South using the first discard made by East.

  • This is a typical winning hand in classic Mahjong and is applicable to most other versions of the game.
  • The colors do not correlate to a specific suit but rather mean different suits are used.
  • This is repeated by the next player on the right if a tile is not called.
  • This results in a more fast-paced game compared to the rest of the versions.

It is a matching game using mahjong tiles, where the objective is to clear the board by matching two identical tiles to remove them from play. The tiles are stacked so, you can only match tiles that are open on the left or the right, working outward to inward. In addition to regional rules, many players have their own “house rules.” These are unique variations or adaptations of the standard rules that a group of friends or family might enjoy. For example, you might have specific rules about how to deal with bonus tiles or scoring. If your 13 tiles are in order then that means you’re waiting for your winning tile (which would either complete a set or your eye) and there are two ways to win!

Old Hong Kong mahjong rules

Discarded tiles are announced and put face-up in the center of the table. Keep in mind that when you discard tiles since all other players are aware of what they are, they can deduce what hand you are trying to make. This is repeated by the next player on the right if a tile is not called. Now that you know how to get started, in the next section, we’ll jump into the core gameplay – how you draw and discard tiles, and the excitement of forming sets and sequences! In Mahjongg, the goal of the game is to build a complete winning hand consisting of 14 tiles, and these hands consist of 4 sets of 3 and a pair.

After the first game is completed, the position of East or dealer passes to the right. The objective of the game is to be the first player to construct a hand that matches one on the scorecard. This is unique to American Mahjong and began being practiced in the 1920s. The Charleston is a tile exchange that allows players to improve Pelican Casino their hands by passing around tiles they do not want to opponents. One of the key strategies in Mahjong is tile conservation. Try not to discard tiles that could potentially complete a set you need. Keep an eye on what your opponents are discarding too, as this can give you clues about which tiles are safe to discard.

Learning About the Game

When there’s ambiguity in the hand representation, the note explains what is actually permitted and what is not. The Flowers and Seasons tiles are not usually used in Mahjong Solitaire. If you’re interested in learning more about Mahjong or getting lessons, Humid with a Chance of Fishballs Tours’ Virginia has launched their own private Mahjong classes. Classes are available for both Hong Kong Cantonese style and Hong Kong Taiwanese style. There are many governing bodies which often host exhibition games and tournaments for modern and traditional Mahjong gaming. Other major international tournaments include the Mahjong International League’s World Mahjong Sports Games and the privately sponsored World Series Of Mahjong. A suit or meld can be one of three different types of combinations, given different names depending on region.

There are four identical copies of each suited tile totaling 108 tiles. Each suit contains four sets of tiles numbered 1-9, making 36 tiles total for the distinct categories. If nobody has revealed a mahjong by the time the wall runs out of tiles, the game is considered a draw and the dealer redeals.

Dead Hands

In many places, players often observe one version and are either unaware of other variations or claim that different versions are incorrect. In mainland China alone, there are over thirty variants.[10] Many variations today differ only by scoring. Seth Brown is a gaming expert, sharing his knowledge about board games, card games, game tutorials, gameplay, and gaming strategies. He is the author of “The Little Book of Mahjong” and is a member of the Northern Berkshire Gaming Group.

If only the dead wall remains (or if no dead wall exists and the wall is depleted) and no one has won, the hand is drawn or “goulashed”. A new hand begins, and depending on the variant, the Game Wind may change. For example, in most playing circles in Singapore, if there is at least one kong when the hand is a draw, the following player of the dealer becomes the next dealer; otherwise, the dealer remains dealer. Many variations have specific hands, some of which are common while some are optional depending on regions and players. One example is the Pure Green hand made of chows or pongs using 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 of bamboo and green dragon.

Concealed hands

You start out with your own pot of chips which would be equivalent to a monetary amount, if you’re playing with money. If you win a hand, you get rewarded with chips, and if you give someone their winning tile, then you pay with your chips. The objective at the end of your session of Mahjong is for your pot of chips to be even or above what you started with. Also, we don’t usually sit down to play just one session, we will most likely play eight or 12 rounds in one gathering. Joker tiles may or may not affect scoring, depending on the variation. Some special hands may require the use of Joker tiles (for example, to represent a “fifth tile” of a certain suited or honor tile).

Dealing The Tiles And Picking A Hand

This set, while still considered part of the hand, cannot be touched for the rest of the game. To decide the dealer, two dice are thrown, and the player with the higher value will be the dealer, or the East Wind as commonly referred to. Since turn order follows anticlockwise, the following players are assigned the South, West, and North Winds respectively. After shuffling, the tiles are arranged in walls that are 17 tiles wide and 2 tiles high. Each player moves a wall to their front, forming a square in the middle of the board. The Flower
and Season tiles are optional, and they do not have duplicates, meaning there are only 8 throughout the entire set. In certain variations of classic Mahjong, these tiles are used as tokens offering bonuses to players who draw them.


A winning hand must consist of four melds (pongs, kongs, or chows) and a pair (eyes) and must also score the agreed table minimum. This creates a smaller square wall the length of about half of each stack, with walls extended away from each corner of the square. The diagonally positioned stacks and a smaller square creates a bigger space for players’ tiles and also makes an ergonomic position for drawing tiles from the stack.

Each player draws a total of 13 tiles, and each variant of Classic Mahjong has different draw rules. In general, all players draw 6 tiles each in turn order and repeat once. Now all players have 12 tiles, and following turn order, each player draws one tile, giving all players 13 tiles. A player starts their turn by drawing a tile from the wall that is currently in play. This tile is selected from the end of the wall closest to the center of the table and it is placed on the tilted side of their rack (visible to them only). The racking of a tile is the signal that the previously discarded tile can no longer be called.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *