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Subject: Gateway Mahong with dominoes? rss

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robert kalin
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A long wile ago I decided to create a western adaption of Mahjong as a kind of "Mahjong Gateway" game. It used 4 "Double Six" domino sets and appeared to be okay but went nowhere. At the time I was rigidly stuck with the mindset that the rules had to be based on Chinese Classical rules and I didn't realize how restrictive that was. Since then I've woken up to how my frozen brain killed it as a concept.

So I thought to give it a different reboot through the use of creative feedback. All I would do is get the ball rolling with a few core concepts and let you guys nail down the rest. Yeah it sort of sounds like crowd sourcing a game development but it really comes down to one simple fact. I only get to play Mahjongg online and in real life just single hands. I don't have the insight as to how simple rule changes can completely change gameplay entirely and when dealing with a variant such as this it has an even stronger effect.

If My past post along these lines proves as a pattern then I expect less than 3 pages of post before it gets abandoned entirely.

So here are my basic core starting ideas.
A. Aimed at non mahjong players, most likely western players.
B. Uses 4 "Double Six" domino sets for ease of purchase/construction.
C. No "confusing" suite definitions. Suites are only needed for scoring or chow creation. Chow's almost never earn any points.
D. A 10 tile starting hand before the first draw. This may change with feedback.

 
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Magister Germanicus
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Sorry not to be of more help, but Zung Jung Mahjong is so easy to teach and starter Mahjong sets are so affordable (Mahjong playing cards even more so), that I would never want to play/teach with dominoes.
 
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Justus
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The question using dominos is what exactly is a suit? Is it the bigger or smaller number?

One game that tackles this question really well is 42 which is my favorite trick taking game.
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robert kalin
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GermanTod: You do have a fair point about ZungJung Mahjong.

On the opposing point the concept was to be cheap, affordable, and a semi gateway to mahjong basics. Tiles instead of cards, and a comfortable set of imagery that almost everyone is familiar with. I mean at the dollar tree you can get 4 domino sets for 4$. That's dirt cheap. Once the basics are nailed down real mahjong would be played. What can I say I too would want dots, bamboo, and characters over dominoes any day of the week. That plus I just LOVE the giant oversized mahjong dominoes. You know, the kind you cant really cheat with because there so huge and REQUIRE a sturdy quality hard case to cary because vinyl coated cardboard just falls apart. I gots BIG HANDS and dry skin! Tiles over cards any day of the week!

Aaarg_Ink: Concerning suite with dominoes.
Suites in dominoes is an issue since each domino has two numbers.

One way to look at it is this way. The highest number on a domino is a suit number. When you lay out a domino set like a triangle, with zeros to the left side and doubles to the right you end up with distinct rows of ever increasing/decreasing sizes of suites.

Second method of determining suites is just that one side of the domino is the suite value depending on the combination (chow/run) you made. This means that a single domino can double as one of two different suites. If you laid out a domino set according to this concept(by using two sets for visual aid) you have 00 to 60 on the bottom row and 06 to 66 on the top row. Like a square.

Third method is sometimes combined with the second. Visual identification for suites. Basicly anything with a zero is a suite, and any tile that is a double is a suite. so you got 00,11,22,33,44,55,66 as one suite, and 00,01,02,03,0,05,06 as another. Many times this method overlaps the second.

By using four sets of dominoes to play mahjong this becomes somewhat moot point. Chows/runs in mahjong do not earn any points to begin with so their importance is considerably less in forming individual sets within the game. Perhaps in scoring but lets face it, patterns/limit hands seem to form the bulk of scoring in mahjong and not sets. Unless you play CC or HKOS without patterns, which would seem odd.

Anyway there's not much to really change when converting dominoes to mahjong. All that really changes is the size of the players start/win hand. Then all you have left are the number of special hands you can make and the ease of remembering them all. Point scoreing minimized to the extent of seeming like a sin. and Voila a domino conversion. Not really a special thing to do at all.

So at this point I guess there are really only Three questions in such an adaption.

A. The size of the players hand at start.
B. The special hands (patterns & limit hands) available to play.
C. Scoring

Wow. Looks like Due to cutting the conversation short I will have less than 3 pages of post! whoo hoo!.
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Alan Kwan
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You'll need combinatorics to verify your game, if you want it to be reasonably playable.
 
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robert kalin
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I once joined the Board Game Design Forum to help get some answers in rewriting 'montana' a long while back. One forum member by the name of "DogBoy" did the math in the odds of forming a chow with dominoes. First he said it was difficult to determine during the game. But to determine a specific chow is easier. So he gave the following with 3 premutations? for each.

If I went with the high number being a suite # then you get a 0.42% probability of making the specific chow.

Whereas if you simply use one side of the domino as the suite as in the second description above then you got a 0.98% chance of forming the specific chow.

Now that begs me to ask. What's the percentage of getting a specific chow in a mahjong set?

--
Then you have to consider which forms of mahjong are closer to the 112 tiles used for this variant? you get 108 tiles if you only use dots, bamboo, and characters. I don't know if there is already a form of mahjong that does not use the winds or dragons with no jokers or bonus tiles.

A quick trip to tom sloper's site revealed that korean and malaysian 3-player mahjong uses a limited set but they include the winds and dragons, possibly jokers instead of just the 3 suites. Other than that the games core rules are still normal mahjong with small changes about claiming priorities and endgame scoring.

2-26-15
136 (tiles in a) set, divide by 13 (tiles in a starting hand)= 10.46. 108 dominoes divided by 10.46 = 10.32 tiles for hand. Get 3 kongs and you end up with a spare tile that does not match and can not get a pair. So you have to go with either 9 or 11 tiles so a tripple kong results in a pair (9) or pung/chow (11). The original idea was to match the percentages of hand size though I suspect this would deeply impact play and scoring much more than I had original thought.

Then you got the silly little thing that 108 tiles does not divide by 8 evenly. (ie 4 walls 2 tiles high)
 
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Alan Kwan
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Now that I think about it, it's much less effort on your part to just compose a mahjong set using 4 decks of playing cards, than to try to come up with rules for dominoes.
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robert kalin
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Ah; but where's the fun in that? :D
I think the best and quickest thing as seen by the 3 handed korean or malaysian mahjong variants is to play as normal and to accept.

A. Smaller wall formation.
B. Shorter game due to limited # of tiles.
C. Differnt scoring.

At that point the only thing that matters is just how to score hands. I think just adding points up is best like in CC, no dealer, and four hands.

Then its -only- scoring.

The big thing is that there is no 'honors' or 'winds'. Tiles with zero now become the bottom suite and doubles can even become suite in themselves. Both of which are capabile of forming chows within their own suites. No longer do you have the non-chow forming 'honors'. In mahjong terminals and honors number 12 (x4). Suites = 27 (x4). A double 6 domino set has 28 tiles. (double use tiles for two differnt suites and you get 49 tiles. Why 49 and not 56 thats because tiles that are 'doubles' do not get used twice.) .. Seems like doubles could serve as the Honor tiles. In theory.
 
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