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Subject: Mahjongg with Dominoes (not solitaire) rss

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Clark D. Rodeffer
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I read over the rules to this last night, and it looks like a really good port of Mah Jongg to Dominoes. I look forward to trying it sometime. How did you choose the name "Stonehenge"?

Your scoring question is also a good one. It would *really* increase the numbers to do this, so players would need tons of poker chips, or just keep score on paper instead. I probably wouldn't even dare to play this for a penny a point. But maybe instead of arbitrarily dividing the suits into upper and lower halves, you could use something like this:

* going out = 20 (increased to be more in-line with potential scoring)
* ready wager = 20 (or maybe a doubling cube anyone can grab & use?)
* chow / run = 0 (I agree that this should be fixed at 0)
* pair = sum of pips for both tiles
* exposed pung / triple = 1*(7-suit value)
* concealed pung / triple 2*(7-suit value)
* exposed kong / quad = 4*(7-suit value)
* concealed kong / quad = 8*(7-suit value)

Clark
 
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Clark D. Rodeffer
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rkcpek wrote:
The use of 20 point ready and out options seemed a bit high to me. High point combinations i've often associated with a high score system in which doublers are commonly used. That's why ive reduced the out and ready options to be no more than your average 'set' a tripple or quad.

Understood. Maybe 10? I just pulled 20 out of thin air because it seemed more in-line with the N*(7-suit) scoring I suggested (see below). As you have it now, going out or a ready wager is worth four points, which is the same as an exposed kong / quad in the lower-scoring "upper" suits and the same as a concealed pung / triple in the higher-scoring "lower" suits.

Either 10 or 20 would be reasonable for the N*(7-suit) scoring schedule, depending upon what you want to emphasize in game play. If you want to emphasize patience and want players to spend more time building higher scoring hands, then use a lower value for ready / going out, maybe even as low as 5. If you want to emphasize taking risks and going out sooner, which will lead to shorter games, then use a higher value, maybe even as high as 30. If you want to really emphasize taking risks, add a doubling cube that anyone can grab at any time.

But you're also right in noting that the N*(7-suit) scoring would make the whole game more math-y. For some players (probably including the majority of existing Mah Jongg players) that might not be a problem. But for new players and some others who have math aversions, the N*(7-suit) system could be a turn-off.

Personally, I also rather like the doublers, at least in Chinese versions of Mah Jongg. But I'm not so fond of the numerous special hands, and I truly dislike the flower/honor/joker tiles that are especially common in the American variants.

rkcpek wrote:
You said in your point system (7-suit value). I take it that you mean to eliminate the use of the lower suites as the mahjong equivalent of winds/dragons? That no matter where it was in the suit the set would be the same point value?

Yes, but I would keep the suit divisions themselves as you have them -- the higher end is always the suit, and the lower numbered suits have fewer tiles in them. It would be instead of winds/dragons/ends (and heaven forbid, flowers/honors/jokers). Labeling the higher scoring suits "lower" and the lower scoring suits "upper" might be confusing to some readers, especially those who have never played Mah Jongg before and don't know about winds/dragons/ends. The N*(7-suit) schedule would exchange this source of confusion with a bit of elementary math.

Granted, winds/dragons/ends are the sorts of things that give Mah Jongg a bit of flavor. But I think anyone who wants to play with Dominoes instead is probably already willing to sacrifice / abstract out that flavor. But even so, the N*(7-suit) schedule is only a suggestion in response to your question about somehow using the pips for scoring as in many other types of Dominoes games. You're free to take it, leave it or include it as an optional scoring method as you wish. :-)

rkcpek wrote:
I'm not too sure about scoreing pair's though pips though. [...]

I was only suggesting scoring the pip total for ONLY the two tiles in the pair, NOT all of the tiles in the whole hand. This would score up to 24 points (for a 6-6 pair), which is quite a bit, but I don't think it's overwhelming. If it seems so, then perhaps the pip total on only one of the two tiles. But it would also tend to take a few high tiles out of the running for pungs / triples in the higher suits, which score lower in that category anyway. As a point of reference, here's a list of the scoring ranges for the various parts of the hand for the scoring schedule I suggested:

chow / run: 0
pair: 0 to 24 (pip total on both tiles) or 0 to 12 (if only one tile)
exposed pung / triple: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 (for suits 6 to 0)
concealed pung / triple: 2,4,6,8,10,12,14
exposed kong / quad: 4,8,12,16,20,24,28
concealed kong / quad: 8,16,24,32,40,48,56

It's your game, and you can do what you wish, including leaving it at 0 always. But depending upon what you want to emphasize in play, you can adjust things. If you leave the pair score at 0, it will emphasize building sets in lower value (more pips) suits because players will tend to hoard more valuable (fewer pips) tiles, which will make them more scarce in the discards and make sets in these suits much more difficult to build. If you score the pip total on one tile, it will shift the emphasis for building sets to more middle and higher value (fewer pips) suits because players are likely to hoard a couple of tiles with more pips hoping to get a bonus from the pair. If you score the pip total on both tiles, it will shift that emphasis even more.

rkcpek wrote:
If you score everyone's hand Then the person with a complete hand will always have a higher score. There is no enticement to play pairs or runs. This to me hearalds back to american mahjongs requirement to create 'limit hands' to win.

I know what you mean. Over time, the more complex "score all hands" versions of Mah Jongg tend to shuffle a lot more points around the table, and settling up after a hand requires a lot more math, which fewer and fewer mainstream people are likely to be willing to do. But the limits do tend to even out the scoring a bit. To me, chows / runs are only a means to a single end -- going out before others get a chance to. If there's no points for a pair and/or only a small bonus for going out and/or everyone gets to score their hands, then you're right, chows / runs are a lot less attractive than in your version where only the player going out scores. Some Mah Jongg scoring schedules include a small extra bonus for going out with only chows / runs and a pair that doesn't score for that player.

rkcpek wrote:
Perhaps a theme to the game would help. But the generics fit so well that any theme would have to be almost as generic. Heh... how about renameing the game "Generic".

I would recommend against theming the game, especially since the bits are, as you said, generic. Instead, I would suggest "Mah Dom" as in the name of the text file from the earlier version on Angelfire. It's not too flashy a name, but it gets the point across.

Clark
 
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