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Subject: Do you need a simplified Mah Jongg? rss

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G. Gomez
United States
Chula Vista
California
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This game uses pretty much the same mechanics of Mahjong, so my focus on this review is on how it differs from it.


The Components:



The game is made up of nice polymer heavy tiles in a cardboard box, a starting player indicator is used, and it all comes inside a sturdy cardboard box, with three dice, cheap betting chips and the rules.
The box is not as nice as some of the Mahjong cases I've seen.

The graphic design on the tiles is simplified from Mahjong using circles, squares, triangles and simple dragon drawings.


Game Play:

Players start with 13 tiles and the goal is to obtain four sets of three and a pair, the last tile is not discarded.

Players keep the starting indicator until they lose on their turn, then it goes to the next player.
Each time the starting tile goes around once it completes a round.
The game is played in three rounds: red, blue and green.


Sets:

The names have been unnecessarily changed from Mahjong.

RUM A sequence of three - same suit - (Chow)
JONG A triplet - (Pung)

KONG Four of a kind - (Only valid in advanced game)




Beginner's Game:

Players start with 200 points.


Scoring:

Player declaring Rum Jong gets paid 10 points by everyone

Whoever plays out ending tile pays 10 extra points

If winner plays out ending tile all players pay 10 extra points


Penalties:

Player declaring Rum Jong by mistake pays 30 points to all players

Player suspends his hand during game pays 40 points to all players

Player has too few or too many tiles continues to play but cannot win




Advanced Game:

Players start with 360 points.


Scoring:

Same as beginner's with the following additions.

Each Kong (four of a kind) adds 10 points


Hand without Balance or Harmony


Runs and triplets - Of more than one suit - 10 points


Hand of Balance


All runs - Of more than one suit - 20 points


Hand of Single Blessing


One Honor set - Not of the current color - 20 points


Hand of Harmony


All triplets - Of more than one suit - 30 points


Hand of Double Blessing


Two Honor sets - Not of the current color or
One Honor Kong - Current color - 30 points


Hand of Triple Blessing


Two Honor sets - One of the current color or
One Honor set and three triplets - 40 points


Hand of True Harmony


Runs and/or triplets - All same suit - 40 points


Hand of Celestial Delight


Three Honor sets - 50 points


Conclusion:

Rum Jong is a simplified way of playing Mahjong, basically winds and flowers tiles have been removed and scoring has been much simplified.

If you enjoy Rummy games and would like to test the waters, I can certainly recommend it, pretty much the way I could also recommend Mhing, though that is probably a better option.

Besides being simpler it also accommodates two and three player games.

While it is nice for a beginner to have a simple way of scoring a game, it is hardly necessary to reduce the number of tiles or even to redesign the tiles.
My kids can recognize what each tile is in Mahjong, and when we played Rum Jong they missed the original design.

While the Chinese design can take a little while to get used to, it really isn't such a big deal.

Mahjong gets complicated only in the scoring, but there are already lots of different options for scoring, even simplified scoring.

The main thing is for everyone to agree on the scoring rules, which is where newbies can run into trouble, what rules should you use?

Mhing has simple scoring sheets that all players refer to during play, and Rum Jong has the simplified scoring shown above, even then it takes some interpretation as the rules are not that clear (the score as shown above is my interpretation of the rules based on the text and drawings shown,) for example, on a 40 point hand it is not made clear whether each losing player pays 40 points or whether the 40 points are shared by all. Also, one of the hands shows one thing in the illustration, but the text describes a different condition, in my interpretation I simply listed both options as alternates.

My advice is to print the scoring sheet (I'll upload it,) and give all the players a copy.

There is no need for you to buy a set if you already own Mahjong, just use the scoring system shown above to play Rum Jong.



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