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Subject: Sigh .... the fun of Mah-Jongg !!! rss

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Inspired by a recent posting on Mhing, I dragged this off the shelf. The game box almost sighed with satisfaction after being neglected for so long. So I dusted it off, and caressed it a little just to make it feel warm and loved. I also managed to convince my wife to play. She always used to thrash me into the ground whenever we played standard Rummy games, and so I dangled this 'humiliate hubby' carrot in front of her ... and she fell for it (oh I am such a charmer blush ) !!

I do love Mah Jongg, and Mhing provides a simple set of rules that support 2 or more players ... this is useful, as standard Mah Jongg only supports 4 players (although I have seen some rules for 3-players which consists of a 4-player game, but with the 4th set of tiles removed (each suit has 4 of each, so that for example there are 4 of all 1 to 9 cards of the Bamboo suit). The cards also provide 'Jokers' which I have not played with before ... although there is a Mah Jongg tile varient which uses 'Joker' tiles to play something called a 'Goulash' round. But enough of that !

I showed my wife all the different card types (3 suits, Winds, Flowers, dragons and Jokers) .... and I could see the look of fear entering her eyes. So I explained some of the scoring and dealt the cards as a trial hand. In fact we did this several times so we could examine the scoring, which is the hardest bit to Mah Jongg / Mhing. One of the immediate scoring differences with Mhing was that there was no concept of 'Kong' in Mhing (where Kong is a set of 4, rather than a more common set of 3 ( sequence or triple)). This did not detract from the game though.

On the first hand, I showed my wife the score she would have got if she had completed it (she was only short 1 card). This hand would have given her 128 points, but I had beaten her to going-out but my score was miserable compared to hers. This also showed her the 'angst' of deciding whether to go for simple hands or take the risk of going for a more complex hand, with its higher rewards. I showed her some of the scoring combinations that were 'killers' (ie would win you the whole game outright). After about 3 hands, she was well into the game and so we started playing the game 'for real'.

I did then win most of the hands, but we did post-mortem each of her hands to show the scoring strengths.

Overall she enjoyed the experience. The game is not a brain-burner and so allowed us to chat and laugh and drink while we played, but still has that depth arising from the many choices to be made.
She agreed that it was more exciting than her normal Rummy fare, and she would be happy to play again ! Success!!

As a footnote, Mhing has all the cards that would enable you to play a standard Mah Jongg tile-game with 4 players, but is much more portable, and so next time we are on our travels, I think I will try and carry this game. I need to look out for an appropriate card-box !

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