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Daniel Berger
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Hi,

I just played with the parents for the first time tonight. Just light games (we played with jokers).

We had a few questions on NEWS.

Is NEWS considered a Kong? Or is it 4 individual tiles? Can you use a joker to complete NEWS? Also, can you call for any of the NEWS tiles?

Dan
 
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Dicky P
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Presume by NEWS you are referring to the four winds, north, south east and west.

"NEWS" is not a set of any kind in mahjong. You can have a pung of three tiles the same e.g NNN, EEE, WWW or SSS

or kongs of four of the same tiles e.g. NNNN, WWWW, SSSS or EEEE.

Whether you can claim a tile will depend on the rule set you are using, however most will allow a claim to complete a pung or kong.
 
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Jeff Thornsen
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In all the versions of MahJong that I've played, the Winds (NEWS) can only form Pungs and Kongs with themselves (ex: NNN, WWWW). There is no such thing as a Chow or Kong of Winds consisting of NEWS. Same with the Dragons.

You can claim a discarded Wind if it will give you the pair for MahJong, a Pung, or a Kong.

I've never played with Jokers, but I would assume that they can be any tile that you want, so you should be able to use it as a Wind tile.
 
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Eric Franklin
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Boom04 wrote:
Presume by NEWS you are referring to the four winds, north, south east and west.

"NEWS" is not a set of any kind in mahjong. You can have a pung of three tiles the same e.g NNN, EEE, WWW or SSS

or kongs of four of the same tiles e.g. NNNN, WWWW, SSSS or EEEE.

Whether you can claim a tile will depend on the rule set you are using, however most will allow a claim to complete a pung or kong.


NEWS is found in American Mah Jongg, where you are trying to complete specific hands of tiles.

IIRC - and I'll double-check within a day or two when I'm near my books again - NEWS is not considered a Kong, merely a set of four tiles. I think that you can use Jokers for NEWS, but you are vulnerable (as usual) to someone else replacing the Joker with the actual tile.

For those of you who don't know: American Mah Jongg is a completely different animal from any of the Eastern versions - the biggest clue that American Mah Jongg is being discussed is the presence of Jokers. AMJ includes eight Jokers as part of the set. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.

Eric
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Robert Franke
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In American Mah Jongg (NMJL) rules "NEWS" is part of a specific hand on the yearly card. It is a collection of four single tiles. It is not considered a kong and no jokers may be used as they are four individual tiles and a joker cannot be used as a single tile or in a pair. An individual wind tile may never be called for a "NEWS" exposure unless it is called for Mah Jongg only. I play NMJL Mah Jongg twice a week, I find it interesting and challenging. One can never be considered an expert as all the hands may change yearly.
Check out Tom Sloper's website sloperama.com, he is considered by most as an expert on all things Mahj.
Cheers,
Rob
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Dicky P
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Gamethyme wrote:


For those of you who don't know: American Mah Jongg is a completely different animal from any of the Eastern versions - the biggest clue that American Mah Jongg is being discussed is the presence of Jokers. AMJ includes eight Jokers as part of the set. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.


Well yet again the "local" variations for mahjong never cease to amaze me. I have played an number of "American" variants (which are quite similar to many western rule sets) but nothng ever which allows a NEWS set. The closest might be a "special hand" which might include the winds but not a NEWS set in its own right. One to look up. Might you have a link to these rules? Thanks in advance.

 
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Eric Franklin
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Boom04 wrote:
Gamethyme wrote:


For those of you who don't know: American Mah Jongg is a completely different animal from any of the Eastern versions - the biggest clue that American Mah Jongg is being discussed is the presence of Jokers. AMJ includes eight Jokers as part of the set. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.


Well yet again the "local" variations for mahjong never cease to amaze me. I have played an number of "American" variants (which are quite similar to many western rule sets) but nothng ever which allows a NEWS set. The closest might be a "special hand" which might include the winds but not a NEWS set in its own right. One to look up. Might you have a link to these rules? Thanks in advance.



I'm not sure how accurate they are, but:
http://www.geocities.com/linfishr/rules.html

If you have a standard MJ set, you'd need to obtain eight Jokers in order to be able to play American MJ.



As I said: A completely different animal.

Eric
 
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Robert Franke
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Boom04 wrote:
Gamethyme wrote:


For those of you who don't know: American Mah Jongg is a completely different animal from any of the Eastern versions - the biggest clue that American Mah Jongg is being discussed is the presence of Jokers. AMJ includes eight Jokers as part of the set. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.


Well yet again the "local" variations for mahjong never cease to amaze me. I have played an number of "American" variants (which are quite similar to many western rule sets) but nothng ever which allows a NEWS set. The closest might be a "special hand" which might include the winds but not a NEWS set in its own right. One to look up. Might you have a link to these rules? Thanks in advance.



Considering more than 100,000 people order and play with the National Mah Jongg League (NMJL) card each year it's not so much a "local" variation and they've been at since 1937. I would check out Tom Slopers site;

www.sloperama.com/mjfaq.html

He has written one of the definitive books on American Mah Jongg, "The Red Dragon and the West Wind," (along with Elaine Sandberg's "American Mah Jongg for beginners"). The NMJL doesn't publicly publish it's rules though they are available in simplistic terms on the back of each years and they sell the complete rules on their site;

www.nationalmahjonggleague.org

Enjoy!
Rob
 
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Robert Franke
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Gamethyme wrote:
Boom04 wrote:
Gamethyme wrote:


For those of you who don't know: American Mah Jongg is a completely different animal from any of the Eastern versions - the biggest clue that American Mah Jongg is being discussed is the presence of Jokers. AMJ includes eight Jokers as part of the set. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.


Well yet again the "local" variations for mahjong never cease to amaze me. I have played an number of "American" variants (which are quite similar to many western rule sets) but nothng ever which allows a NEWS set. The closest might be a "special hand" which might include the winds but not a NEWS set in its own right. One to look up. Might you have a link to these rules? Thanks in advance.



I'm not sure how accurate they are, but:
http://www.geocities.com/linfishr/rules.html

If you have a standard MJ set, you'd need to obtain eight Jokers in order to be able to play American MJ.



As I said: A completely different animal.

Eric


Excellent explanation of the NMJL rules; I played a MJ tournament with Linda Fisher in early June, nice lady, good site.
Cheers,
Rob
 
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Todd Redden
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djberg96 wrote:
Hi,

I just played with the parents for the first time tonight. Just light games (we played with jokers).

We had a few questions on NEWS.

Is NEWS considered a Kong? Or is it 4 individual tiles? Can you use a joker to complete NEWS? Also, can you call for any of the NEWS tiles?

Dan

I play Hong Kong style rules, and as such don't use jokers. The wind tiles "ESWN" and dragons are only used to score pungs (3 of a kind) and kongs (4 of a kind.) When I started to play seriously, I played with a group who played "no chicken hands", which means your mah jongg must have at least 1 FAN, or point, to go out. As you advance in game play you will find the real game begins when you start scoring "FAN" (pronounced fawn). Various aspects of a mah jongg count as more points. For example, a pure hand (all the same suit) scores 6 FAN. A mah jongg containing only pungs (and a pair) is good for 3 FAN, a pung of honor tiles (winds or dragons) scores 1 FAN, only if the wind is of your seat, and so on (there are many qualities and special hands that can score.) There are various ways of scoring, a good mah jongg book can fill you in. Gambling is based on how many FAN the mah jongg has when the winner goes out - losers (especially the one who played the tile drawn to go out) pay the winner. What a GREAT game!
 
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Daniel Berger
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Thanks for all your answers everyone!
 
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Gordon Adams
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You may want to look at Boardgames with Scott because there is a good video of how to play Mahjong.
I must admit, it is slightly diferent to the way we've been playing it over the last twenty odd years, but it is good.
We also have Mahjong cards...that can be fun, too.

Regards.
 
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Dicky P
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Thanks to all for the links. I can't quite believe this one slipped under my radar. I will try this one out.


WOTANSON wrote:

Considering more than 100,000 people order and play with the National Mah Jongg League (NMJL) card each year it's not so much a "local" variation and they've been at since 1937.
Rob


Accepting that Mahjong probably came out of the Hangchow, Nanking, Shanghai and Ningpo regions in the late 19thC (this might be a topic of much discussion) then for me any variation beyond that "original" version (whatever that was) falls to be a "local" variation. I had intended "local" to have some country based or Federation meaning rather than say a groups own house rules.

I am sure other "local" variants will equally defend their history and player numbers but what I was endeavouring to comment on is the number of what might be regarded as "official" variants that are out there. These are extensive: Chinese, Japanese (both old, new, classic), American, French, British, Dutch, Taiwanese, German, Hong Kong,... the list goes on.

I think I may have made a similar posting elsewhere but my recommendation to any new mahjong player is to get to grips with the variant that you are first introduced too, but do explore these other variants. Each can be different in play and stategy, but not enough that you have to learn a new set of rules each time. Some you won't like, other will become firm friends, but variety can be the spice of "mahjong" life....

Now I'm off to practice what I preach... NMJL .. here we come...
 
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Robert Franke
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Variety can be the spice of "mahjong" life....

Now I'm off to practice what I preach... NMJL .. here we come... [
/q]

Agreed, besides the twice weekly NMJL rules games my Wife and some friends play "Western Vanilla" aka "British Empire" monthly then there are the Taiwan versions my other group of friends play......so much Mahj....so little time.
Cheers,
Rob
 
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Todd Redden
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Boom04 wrote:
Thanks to all for the links. I can't quite believe this one slipped under my radar. I will try this one out.


WOTANSON wrote:

Considering more than 100,000 people order and play with the National Mah Jongg League (NMJL) card each year it's not so much a "local" variation and they've been at since 1937.
Rob


Accepting that Mahjong probably came out of the Hangchow, Nanking, Shanghai and Ningpo regions in the late 19thC (this might be a topic of much discussion) then for me any variation beyond that "original" version (whatever that was) falls to be a "local" variation. I had intended "local" to have some country based or Federation meaning rather than say a groups own house rules.

I am sure other "local" variants will equally defend their history and player numbers but what I was endeavouring to comment on is the number of what might be regarded as "official" variants that are out there. These are extensive: Chinese, Japanese (both old, new, classic), American, French, British, Dutch, Taiwanese, German, Hong Kong,... the list goes on.

I think I may have made a similar posting elsewhere but my recommendation to any new mahjong player is to get to grips with the variant that you are first introduced too, but do explore these other variants. Each can be different in play and stategy, but not enough that you have to learn a new set of rules each time. Some you won't like, other will become firm friends, but variety can be the spice of "mahjong" life....

Now I'm off to practice what I preach... NMJL .. here we come...

One aspect of mah jongg which effects variations commonly is the use of "flowers" or "seasons". Chinese (Hong Kong) play with flowers scoring either for no flowers taken, or 1 Fan for the flower of your chair. The Japanese don't use flowers. Americans go hog wild with flowers and jokers (I don't play American Mah Jongg, but have several old bakelite sets from the '20s packed with extra flowers from other sets - 10 or 12 in some cases - and jokers galore.) Flowers never score as sets (pungs/kongs) but always as bonus points, and cause the player to redraw another tile.
 
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tmredden wrote:

One aspect of mah jongg which effects variations commonly is the use of "flowers" or "seasons". Chinese (Hong Kong) play with flowers scoring either for no flowers taken, or 1 Fan for the flower of your chair. The Japanese don't use flowers. Americans go hog wild with flowers and jokers (I don't play American Mah Jongg, but have several old bakelite sets from the '20s packed with extra flowers from other sets - 10 or 12 in some cases - and jokers galore.) Flowers never score as sets (pungs/kongs) but always as bonus points, and cause the player to redraw another tile.


The Classical Chinese version I learned 20+ years ago, and still play, does not use flowers and seasons at all. I am also quite familiar with the Hong Kong version you mentioned but don't currently know anyone where I live now that plays by the Hong Kong rules. I have never played the American game and, in all honesty, it doesn't appeal to me so I probably never will.

Isn't is odd that most people (at least the ones I know) don't just own one Mah Jongg set? I personally have three, including one old bakelite set, and will probably be adding more.
 
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tmredden wrote:
Boom04 wrote:
Thanks to all for the links. I can't quite believe this one slipped under my radar. I will try this one out.


WOTANSON wrote:

Considering more than 100,000 people order and play with the National Mah Jongg League (NMJL) card each year it's not so much a "local" variation and they've been at since 1937.
Rob


Accepting that Mahjong probably came out of the Hangchow, Nanking, Shanghai and Ningpo regions in the late 19thC (this might be a topic of much discussion) then for me any variation beyond that "original" version (whatever that was) falls to be a "local" variation. I had intended "local" to have some country based or Federation meaning rather than say a groups own house rules.

I am sure other "local" variants will equally defend their history and player numbers but what I was endeavouring to comment on is the number of what might be regarded as "official" variants that are out there. These are extensive: Chinese, Japanese (both old, new, classic), American, French, British, Dutch, Taiwanese, German, Hong Kong,... the list goes on.

I think I may have made a similar posting elsewhere but my recommendation to any new mahjong player is to get to grips with the variant that you are first introduced too, but do explore these other variants. Each can be different in play and stategy, but not enough that you have to learn a new set of rules each time. Some you won't like, other will become firm friends, but variety can be the spice of "mahjong" life....

Now I'm off to practice what I preach... NMJL .. here we come...

One aspect of mah jongg which effects variations commonly is the use of "flowers" or "seasons". Chinese (Hong Kong) play with flowers scoring either for no flowers taken, or 1 Fan for the flower of your chair. The Japanese don't use flowers. Americans go hog wild with flowers and jokers (I don't play American Mah Jongg, but have several old bakelite sets from the '20s packed with extra flowers from other sets - 10 or 12 in some cases - and jokers galore.) Flowers never score as sets (pungs/kongs) but always as bonus points, and cause the player to redraw another tile.


At one point NMJL rules dictated up to 24 flower tiles in the mid 1950's for play. The League settled on the 8 Joker 8 Flower tile rules in 1971 IIRC, crazy. I also have a bakelite set from the mid 60's only four "natural" jokers came with it, the previous owner had used some extra Flower tiles as Jokers by adding stickers, I know at least two sources for Joker stickers and The League will, for a fee, match tiles for Jokers if you send in a sample tile.
Cheers,
Rob
 
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Alan Kwan
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The rules variations have become so numerous and complex, that if you want to ask about any "local" (as Dicky call them) version rule, your best bet is to ask the "official" source regulating that version, if there is one.

But my personal recommendation would be, if a version uses something as peculiar as NEWS but yet doesn't make it very clear in their rules how that is played, just ditch that version and play a better one.
 
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Alan Kwan wrote:
The rules variations have become so numerous and complex, that if you want to ask about any "local" (as Dicky call them) version rule, your best bet is to ask the "official" source regulating that version, if there is one.

But my personal recommendation would be, if a version uses something as peculiar as NEWS but yet doesn't make it very clear in their rules how that is played, just ditch that version and play a better one.


NMJL rules Mah Jongg are very specific about the hands, in fact the vast majority of players play with the "standard hands and rules" card in front of them. I did find a special hand in "British Empire" Mahj that has NEWS in it, so there you go, not specific to American Mah Jongg. What would you think is "better" BTW, Vietnamese, Malasian, HKOS, HKNS, Sichuan, Shanghai, Phillipino, Korean?
Cheers,
Rob
 
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Alan Kwan
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The best IMO is of course Zung Jung laugh, which is a polished (not to be confused with Polish, since it is compiled by a Hong Kong person) version of New Style. (HKNS is not an appropriate name, since New Style is hardly known in Hong Kong.)

Hong Kong Old Style is kind of boring, since you're trying to make patterns in an environment where there aren't enough patterns to make. The others are mostly either too complex or too broken, if not too contrived.
 
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