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Mhing is a card games based on the classic Chinese game Mah Jongg. Mhing has two advantages over Mah Jongg and one (big but fixable) disadvantage. The advantages are (1) that while Mah Jongg can only be played with four players, Mhing can be played with anything from two to eight player; and (2) that Mhing is smaller and lighter and, hence, easier to take with you on holiday that a set of Mah Jongg pieces. The major disadvantage of Mhing is that it is simplified Mah Jongg. This disadvantage is remedied quit easily, however, by regarding the game as 'portable Mah Jongg' rather than a different / independent game.

The basics of the game are identical to those of Mah Jongg. Each player starts with 13 cards. There are 3 types of cards. Most important are the bamboo, circles and symbol cards. These three series are numbered 1 to 9 and of each number - type combination there are four cards. Next are the dragons and winds. There are three kinds of dragons (4 cards of each) and four winds (also 4 of each). Finally there are 8 flowers, which are a kind of bonus cards that do not take part in actual game play.

The purpose of the game is to form combinations of three or four identical cards (pungs and kongs) or series of three cards of following numbers (chaus). Whoever has four pungs, chaus and kongs and one pair first has Mhing or Mah Jongg and ends the game (but does not necessarily win it).
Each turn a player takes one new card and discards a card from his hand. The new card he takes may be either the top card from the faced-down deck or the card last discarded. A player may only take the last card discarded (disregarding who played it and disregarding the normal order of play) if he can form a pung or kong with it immediately (hence, if a player takes the last card played to form a pung or kong several other players may be skipped in that round).

The interesting thing about Mah Jongg, is that there are many exceptions to these general rules, while Mhing diverges from the rules relatively little. Hence, I would always recommend Mah Jongg over Mhing (the fact that Mah Jongg is far more beautiful would be a second reason to recommend the original, by the way). However, there is no reason whatsoever why you couldn't play real Mah Jongg with Mhing cards.

There is relatively little strategy in Mhing or Mah Jongg. Mah Jongg is a game of chance mainly. What is important is that scoring depends on how many different kinds (and what kinds) of cards you have at the end of the game. Choosing for a specific type of cards (let's say bamboo) early in the game may later prove to be the wrong choice because everyone else is throwing out the bamboos that are just out of your reach, slowly making your bamboo collection worthless.

In conclusion, Mhing is O.K. as holiday Mah Jongg. As an independent game it has relatively little to offer. The original, Mah Jongg, on the other hand, I can recommend to anyone.

 
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