Talk:Mahjong

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Cscr-former.svg Mahjong is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.

Needs Scoring Information[edit]

As mentioned in the article, there are a lot of regional variants of Mah Jong. I don't have the slightest clue how to give a concise account of game flow without leaving one or more variants out. Describing all 20+ widely-played variants would make for a mammoth article. Any suggestions? -- RPG Advocate

I've added the basics of Hong Kong style play and scoring, which is about as standard as it gets. Other variants should probably get their own writeups. Jpatokal 14:39, 10 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Move[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

I moved the article from Mah Jong to Mahjong. The later spelling is 10 times more popular: 45,500 vs 488,000 [1]. --Menchi 01:28, 21 Sep 2003 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


148 tiles[edit]

I'm from Hong Kong and I've never heard of a 148-tile Mahjong being the standard before. kelvSYC 19:45, 21 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Don't know lah, Singaporeans call the 148-tile version "Hong Kong style". So what is the HK standard then? Jpatokal 13:39, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I can tell you that a Mah-Jong set (well, at least a set of tiles, I don't know about Mah-Jong sets in playing-card form) from Hong Kong only comes with 144 tiles and 4 replacement tiles, so a 148-tile game couldn't be the Hong Kong standard. As to your question, It really depends on the part of Hong Kong, the cultural/ethnic background, etc., but the majority play what is known as the "Cantonese version", so that could be the "Hong Kong style". It's a 144-tile game where hands are formed to score fan (the English equivalent would be "point" or "double"). A 3-player variation exists where the north wind tiles (and associated flower tiles) and one suit (picked arbitrarily - when I play it's usually the bamboo or character suit, depending on whether or not my opponents know Chinese numerals) is removed (leaving 98 tiles - walls are 17 long).

Singaporean[edit]

Just curious - what rules do Singaporeans call their own style? kelvSYC 07:17, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

As I said, the Singaporeans who taught me the local style called it Hong Kong style... Anyway, I've revised the writeup to match the HK set as described in [2], please tell me what you think. Jpatokal 08:21, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Scoring table[edit]

Here's a job for someone with too much time on their hands: wikify the doubles table into something like this. The linked page even has the Chinese names, but unfortunately, they're all graphics... Jpatokal 09:13, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)


To Do[edit]

  • add info about riichi
  • add information about quints and alternate flower tile/melding rules in American (NMJL) Mahjong (eg. it's possible to declare melds of flower tiles, but not possible to "add" to an existing meld) - I tell you, those NMJL rules are very different from more conventional rules
  • add more specific info about scoring (the HK and Japanese systems in particular)
  • perhaps split articles (as it is approaching 32K, and perhaps as a convienient way of linking MJ to other games with MJ-tiles like 10 1/2)
  • simplified and traditional characters...?
  • generic tile pictures, anyone?

kelvSYC 06:38, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Clarify a couple of issues with the rules for having a kong in one's hand.

  • In the Game Play section, it is stated: "During gameplay, the number of tiles maintained by each player should always be the same, ie. 13 or 16. A player must discard a tile after picking up one. Failure to do so rules that player effectively out of winning (since a winning combination could never be built with one extra tile or less)". However, this is contradicted in the Melds section, where it says, on forming a kong: "In any case, a player must draw an extra tile from the back end of the wall (or from the dead wall, if it exists) and discard as normal." This means that for each kong formed, the number of tiles in a player's hand increases by one - as it must, if the requisite number of melds is to be formed. A winning hand _requires_ extra tiles when it contains kongs. Thus, a hand with one kong must contain 14 or 17 tiles during play, and winning requires 15 or 18 tiles.
  • In the Melds section concerning kongs, it says: "In any case, a player must draw an extra tile from the back end of the wall (or from the dead wall, if it exists) and discard as normal." It is ambiguous whether the tile discard takes place before or after the additional tile is drawn.

AliasMarlowe (talk) 11:15, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Failed FAC Nomination[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

A self-nomination, but I think the content is largely adequate, and changes made during the nomination process will cement its position among Wikipedia's elite articles. kelvSYC 20:31, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • Support, though the navigation could be improved; I'm just not sure how. It's a lot of information, after all. --Golbez 21:15, Oct 15, 2004 (UTC)
  • Object. A brief scan reveals several problems, notably a lack of (or just sporadic) information on the Japanese game. I fixed the first section, but don't have time to address the other problems today, or probably for a couple of days. Also, the article is currently 53kb. Exploding Boy 21:48, Oct 15, 2004 (UTC)
    • The TOC is also overwhelming and should be cut down. →Raul654 07:17, Oct 16, 2004 (UTC)
    • I have to admit that there is not enough depth in the scoring section (and it may need to be rewritten once again), but can you give us more detail as to what these problems you refer to are? kelvSYC 07:06, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Comment: If the length of the article is a concern, what can us Wikipedians do to improve upon it? We could split the Mahjong article into something like American Mahjong for stuff specifically relating to American mahjong (eg. quints, Charleston, scoring card, etc.) and do similar things for other major variations. kelvSYC 07:06, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • The typical (and more aesteically pleasing, and less time consuming) method is to take one of the longer sections and fork it off into its own article, and leave a 1-2 paragraph summary in its place. →Raul654 07:20, Oct 16, 2004 (UTC)
      • I've chopped off the scoring section and put that into Scoring in Mahjong. When more details are added, probably each type of scoring can have its own article. However there seems to be an imbalance of information in Mahjong which is currently 27kb. I'm not sure which other section in the main article to chop off. —Goh wz 01:32, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
        • The article length and TOC are fine now. →Raul654 20:27, Oct 17, 2004 (UTC)
  • I think it could still use a bit of tweaking in some awkward areas, but I withdraw my objection. Exploding Boy 18:31, Oct 18, 2004 (UTC)
  • Object. This is a decent article, but it needs references. See Wikipedia:Cite your sources. Consider this as my support when references have been added. Jeronimo 11:33, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. Some day I intend to learn Mahjong and actually understand it... As others have stated, in the future if this article continues to expand (and there's certainly plenty of room for it to do so) it'll need to be split up into different articles. Right now, the length is just fine. Zerbey 13:52, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
Think of it as a form of rummy! Esthameian 23:11, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Rewrite, refine and revise. More attractive photos, perchance drawn CGs, are highly appreciated (To be honest, the photos are in poor quality =( ). I think there's an outstanding featured article, Go (board game), to follow. --06:24, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Rewrite and split up. The number of main variants of Mahjong are around a dozen, with an exhaustive list of 35 as of now on Tom Sloper's page (which -imho- the list doesn't really qualify for encyclopedic content). Before reaching the links section, "American" is present 30 times, and Japanese 17 (although some are just language indicators). The page is also at this time 47kB in size. Main article should probably contain history, general concept of gameplay, and then split for all the common rulesets: Classical, HK, Taiwanese, MCR, Japanese and American. Almost every other variant is a footnote compared to the popular usage of these variants. I'm trying to work on a Japanese Mahjong page in my user page but it will take time to find proper references for it. Kal'krit (talk) 23:51, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Terminology and further developments[edit]

I'm thinking about 2 things:

1. terminology. It has got to a point that due to the different names from the different rulesets, as well as the inheritant language problem, even basic terms could have a lot of synonyms. Should we agree on a set of terms to use on all Mahjong pages? It would seem less confusing to me.

2. further developments. The whole set of articles have gone to a point that it is a bit, stranded at this position. Maybe to tabulate and compare the scoring of different mahjogg varients?--XF95.邪 20:56, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Instead of cramming everything on one page, it would be better to have a separate page on each ruleset. Then on the main article, only point out the unique differences from all other rules. For example, Cantonese mahjong does not use the wildcard at all. That can be pointed out in as a summary. Then each separate rule article can go in details for any reader who really wants to learn about certain set of rules. Kowloonese 23:25, Apr 14, 2005 (UTC)

Most rulesets differ by only scoring details (mainly what criteria scores what), and perhaps the definition of what can be constituted a pair (some variations allow the 1 Bamboo to be paired with the 1 Circle, for instance). Scoring, however, is covered under Scoring in Mahjong, and that article needs a new write (for one thing, I still need to clear up that points and score thing).

Also recall that this article failed one FAC nomination, so we might need to make significant changes. The only thing that I can think of that we can add to the article is adding more on American (NMJL/AMJA) rules (which are barely covered) and Western Classical (ie. Wright-Patterson) rules, and perhaps add the Babcock scoring system that seems to be on every Wikipedia (with a Mahjong article) but this one.

I agree with Kowloonese's thoughts on a basic level, but the basic rules are mainly the same. The only variations that I've seen using Joker tiles are NMJL/AMJA rules, which are a bit tough (and the strategy is another monster altogether), and perhaps should be relegated to an article specifically devoted to American Mahjong. Before we do that, someone will have to obtain the American and Western Classical rulesets from their governing bodies (and those are not free), and for American Mahjong, a scoring card.

The terminology used in Mahjong remain consistent - we know what the tiles are called, most of the scoring combinations, etc. What kinds of terminology consistencies are you referring to anyways?

kelvSYC 01:36, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I might misslead the point on the use of the word inconsistantencies. In fact, the problem arises when I try to translate the article on Japanese Mahjong Scoring Rule, and found myself stuck to using the Japanese terminology, not the English or Cantonese ones.

For example, Even I know the accepted "universal" form of han in the Japanese variety is called faan in chinese and simplified to fan in international usage, I could not restraint myself from using han altogether in the same article. Although using fan could (hopefully) make the article universally understandable, the term was always han in their usage.

I am on the way of thinking that if every ruleset in Wiki was written with different terms for the same thing, it would make the casual non-player quite confused.

Or if the way out is to make an article to place all the mahjong terms of all naming conventions? So every article could be written in its own native terms, but by linking to such a library article, hopefully the problem shall diminish. --XF95.邪 02:57, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

What I tried to do in Scoring in Mahjong (when it was once part of the main article) was develop some standard English terminology. This can be used to create a spiringboard of sorts in order to translate a specific variation's term to a standard term. kelvSYC 21:51, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps scoring in Mahjong is not exactly the method to do so, and I insist that it should be limited to scoring only. I suggest that an article or even a list shall be created for the list of common ...yaku(that I cannot find a word which can be as concise and to the point other than it), as well as a list of the common terminiology.--XF95.邪 06:41, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Keep in mind that, by wiki convention, English terms should be used whenever possible, and the local terms should be included. That's why, for example, pung is considered a noun and not a verb - the English terminology (as introduced by Babcock) considers it as such. I still agree, however, that a variation's specific name for a common term should be included in the article (see Mahjong tiles, where we use Dragon tiles rather than the Chinese sanyuanpai or the Japanese sangenpai). Lists of terminology and scoring criteria should be largely unnecessary. kelvSYC 00:57, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Well, most non-American varieties of playing did include a number of hands that are quite standard. Repeating them in all (common) variaties of Mahjong does not make more sense than making an article listing out all of them. --XF95.邪 04:01, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I agree to that. I don't have a problem with it. I can see Scoring in Mahjong having the basic definitions and having each individual scoring page refer to it. I can certainly see something along the lines of: kokushimusou - the Thirteen Terminals hand (insert link to section on thirteen terminals in Scoring in Mahjong in that line). kelvSYC 03:47, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Might be Hands of Mahjong would fit that purpose?
Keep everything separated instead of making that into another jumble of different nouns and ideas
  • I found out something in other sources. It turns out that the Japanese Scoring is not the only one using a Basic Score ^ doubles. Maybe I woul rework the relavant article, or it might be another reason to separate scoring, hands and rules into 2 articles plus a list. --XF95.邪 09:16, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The rules introduced by Babcock to America are based on the same point-and-double system. The major non-point-and-double systems AFAIK are the Cantonese systems (plain old points) and the American system (which is a completely different beast altogether). kelvSYC 13:37, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It seems like you want to split Scoring in Mahjong into two articles: one for the generalities of how to score and the other for the most common scoring criteria and special hands. It seems like a "big mess" is being split into two "smaller messes". Why is Scoring in Mahjong, in your opinion, too jumbled? kelvSYC 13:37, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Won't it be a lot better when an interwinding mess is splitted into 2 interconnected mess? It would remain to be a mess, though. --XF95.邪 18:56, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Mahjong and movies[edit]

If my memory serves me, there was a Mahjong movie starred by Andy Lau and Gigi Leung few years ago. Another coming-soon one would be the Mahjong Kungfu starred by the "landlady" in Kungfu Hustle. Would anyone write about the influence of Mahjong on movie-making industry? --Jerry Crimson Mann 06:34, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Sitting on a rock?[edit]

The rulebook of my mahjong set bought in Sweden seems to be fairly close to the Hong Kong rules. However, one feature I haven't seen elsewhere is that it is required to announce when one can make mahjong with one more tile. We say "I am sitting on a rock". Is this the case for other known mahjong rules as well, and what would be said in english/cantonese/mandarin? – Foolip 14:58, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

In Chinese you say 'ting pai'; I don't know what the characters are. It's also customary to lay your tiles face down in front of you. In the informal games I play it's not requiered, but people will ask each other, 听了没?
That sounds like the Japanese rule riichi in which you cannot change to a different one after your announcment, you trade your flexibility for a bonus. In the Hong Kong rules, there is no bonus for making such announcement. In fact, it is usually a strategic no-no to let your opponent know you are close to winning. Of course, some people bluff. I can assure you that Swedish rule is definitely not in the Hong Kong rule. Kowloonese 22:43, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

If a player is one tile short of winning, they are said to be "listening" for a tile (hence, ting pai). Players are not supposed to announce this fact (being something of strategic value rather than something in the rules). In Japanese and international competition, there is the riichi rule, in which you can announce this fact, and lock down your hand (by putting your hand face down) until someone discards (or you self-pick) the desired tile for a scoring bonus. Some scoring variations also award points for having a hand that listens only for a single tile (ie. du ting, but this is subject to interpretation: if two tiles can win, and all four of one have already been discarded, does it count as du ting?).

Admittedly, I have never heard of what is apparently there in Sweden, where you can declare riichi and not lock down your hand.

Note that ting pai is really a "standard mahjong" phoenomena - in American Mahjong it means a little less due to the wildcard factor. I have never seen riichi used with American Mahjong, largely due to the complications of wildcard replacement rules while your hand is locked down.

kelvSYC 22:00, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

According to R.F. Foster in 1924, a player waiting for one tile is said to be "calling" with a "waiting hand". Saxophobia 12:15, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Copyright concerns regarding the pictures in this article[edit]

The majority of the photos in the article are screen shots from some movies. I don't know which movies, but the people in these pictures are well known movie stars. The poster either was present in these celebrity's gambling party, or he simply capture some screenshot from a DVD of some movies. I thought that the wikipedia guidelines for using screen shot from movie is that no more than one shot for each article. The usage here is clearly a violation of the rules. Kowloonese 22:53, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

I counted 16 photos in this article that are screenshots from the movie Fat Choi Spirit (Chinese: 嚦咕嚦咕新年財). Cgkm 10:38, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
I think these photos should be removed. Their use on this article clearly breaks wiki policies on screenshots or fair use. LDHan 18:57, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree with you, and I wonder why they've been there for 2 years. I believe somebody should replace them though, as they are useful. I've tagged them for review. Random user123 00:59, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

American Mahjong.[edit]

Since American Mahjong is so distinct from the original game. I think a separate entry should be used to explain American Mahjong. This is because it disrupts the flow of thoughts for someone who wanted to know how to play the game. The rules and procedures of the orignal game are interspersed with American Mahjong. Changed 17:16, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Complete suits?[edit]

The reference to "complete suits (usually of threes)" in the introduction is odd. I'd interpret that to mean that the hand has to be all one suit or contain all the members of a suit, and while these are special hands in some variants of the game, it certainly isn't a requirement for winning the hand in most versions close to the Chinese game. However, I'm not sure exactly how it should be rephrased given the huge variations in what constitutes a winning hand, especially considering American mahjong. Perhaps the phrase should be something like "the object of the game is to collect tiles that form winning hands", but that's sort of circular. --Matt McIrvin 05:27, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

They may be comparing Mahjong to rummy, but still it should be correctly termed melds. kelvSYC 19:53, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

What's the source for 麻将 meaning "sparrow"?[edit]

I have access to a lot of Chinese dictionaries. I've never seen a single one -- including the infamously complete 词海 (lit. "word ocean" -- sort of the OED of Chinese dictionaries) -- that says that the game was named after a bird. Further the dictionaries I do have say that "sparrow" is 麻雀 (má qüè in Pinyin) with no historical references to it ever being called 麻将 (má jiàng).

I'd love to see a citation on this. I'll watch for a few days and if none are forthcoming, I'll turf that piece of misinformation.

majiang is the name of the game - it has never referred to the bird. maque, however, is a Southern Chinese (ie. Guangdong) localism, and may be more familiar to most readers as the name Mahjong is derived from this. It may be named for the 1 bamboo, which usually has a picture of a bird on it (likely a sparrow). kelvSYC 19:53, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

maque (麻雀)is the standard Mandarin term for sparrow, and has no connection to the word majiang (麻将) other than sharing the word ma (hemp). Also, the phrase 听了没 is ungrammatical in Chinese. Sun da sheng 04:13, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Although it is true (that majiang has no real connection to sparrows), in Cantonese the term majiang is completely foreign - maque is used far more often (and hence from there the sparrow meaning). It's likely that the meaning of the localism (ie. Cantonese) has transferred over to the meaning of the more "national" term (ie. majiang). However, it is far more likely that original English sources (Babcock et al.) took the Cantonese term and used it as "the (singular) Chinese terminology" (this may be as southern China was far more accessible in the past - ie. in the form of Hong Kong or Macau and Mandarin was less cosmopolitan) - the same reason can be used to backup why the English term for a triple is a "Pong" or "Pung" rather than peng (the dominant Mandarin Romanization system in the 20s, Wade-Giles, would have used p'eng, IIRC) and why a quadruple would be termed a "Kong" (k'ang in WG, IIRC).
For that matter, I have no idea where majiang comes from - whether the name was changed or whether it was a northern localism that went national due to the fact that northern dialects tend to be closer to standard Mandarin. (I'm far more familiar with Cantonese localisms, so I can't flesh out the origins)
As for tinglamei, I've never heard of that term used in any Chinese-language sources officially - it is likely backformed from English (as "listening" has been used in English-language sources) or formed from tingpai (which is in use in Guangdong, and for which "listening" was likely formed from). English sources also tend to use "ready hand" for the same situation, and some scoring variations give points out for duting (ie. waiting with a hand for which one specific tile is needed to win). So asking tinglamei may be shorthand, asking players whether they have a ready hand (and thus are waiting for tiles).
kelvSYC 03:01, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
The folks at rec.games.mahjong newsgroup have been discussing this issue about the origin of the name 麻雀 (máquè) and 麻将 (májiàng). Unfortunately, there is really little evidence for why the game is called 麻雀. Some early literature published before the 1920s used 麻雀, rather than 麻将. Considering that Mandarin was only later propagated as a national language, and not at the time of the first expansion of the game (before the 1920s), the Mandarin term (as 麻将 and pronounced májiàng) is thought to be more recent. For example, the Japanese use 麻雀 and not 麻将, as is the same for Hong Kong players. Therefore, that "sparrow" (麻雀) having no historical references for it being called 麻将 is wrongly put (as stated by the first poster). Rather, we have to see if 麻将 was ever called 麻雀 historically, rather than 麻雀 being called 麻将, as the order of appearance of each term is important.
Additionally and more importantly, in the local variant of Ningbo (where mahjong is thought to have originated) and probably Wu (Shanghainese) in general, the game of 麻雀 is supposedly pronounced as something close to májiàng, due to érhuà 儿化 (i.e. while 麻雀 is pronounced [motsiah], 麻雀儿 is pronounced as [motsian] instead). It is probably from this Shanghai/Ningbo pronunciation of [motsian] that the Mandarin term of májiàng came about, to render the term phonetically into characters more familiar to Mandarin speakers. Checking Chinese dictionaries (with Mandarin pronunciations) is hardly any use in this case, since the actual pronunciation and origin is not from Mandarin but from another Chinese language/dialect.
However, it will indeed be difficult to find good references to cite, since few people will have done serious research on this. Phytomagus 07:17, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Oh, good God! The whole speculation on what the words mean needs to be edited right out! The "Che" => "Chee" => "Chow" needs to die a brutal death, for example. Because the word used (in Mandarin) is 吃 (chī)-- which means "eat". As in "I'll eat that piece". The word spoken in English as "Pong" is 碰 (pèng) -- which means "bump" or "meet". And the final word, spoken in English as "Kong" is 杠 (gàng) and means "bridge" or "pole". They have absolutely nothing to do with 孔夫子's family name, wife's name or anything of the sort. (Source: my Chinese wife and her mother.)

Again, without citations, this part is going to die a horrible, brutal death.

I've seen chi and chow, the former from Chinese sources and the latter from Western sources describing the Babcock game (eg. Robert Charles Bell in Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations. Chee may be a corruption of chi, seeing how westerners may not be familiar with hanyu pinyin. But any links to Confucious is at best questionable -- the only concrete evidence of Mahjong comes from the Taiping rebellion. kelvSYC 19:53, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Read http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq11.htm in part the section "THE NAME OF THE GAME":

In the very earliest known writings about the game (the 1890s), the game was referred to by various names, among them chung fa, que ma que or ma que (in Cantonese: mah cheuk 麻雀). The game was not called "mahjong" by the Chinese who played it, and that name was not used until the early 1900s.

When Joseph Park Babcock undertook to introduce the game to the USA in 1920, he decided that it would be beneficial to give the game a name that he could trademark. For reasons known only to himself, he decided "mahjong" would sound better (more Chinese-sounding, I guess) than mah que, and he decided to write it as "Mah-Jongg," with the hyphen and the two G's. ...

The mah-jongg tiles, when shuffled, make a melodious noise reminiscent of the noise of numerous sparrows squabbling over scattered food crumbs. This sound effect is most apparent when shuffling bone-and-bamboo tiles, and when you're hearing the sound from a small distance. And this is why the game was called Sparrows 麻雀 (mah que) by the Chinese before Babcock came along. ...

Recently, the Chinese have changed the way they write the game's name. They no longer write it as 麻雀 (mah que, meaning Sparrows). Today instead they write it as 麻將 (ma jiang). Its meaning seems to be "hemp leader" or "jute general" or "flax commander." I don't know why this change has been made - hemp and military leaders aren't exactly a logical combination - but my guess is that it was an attempt to find a more impressive-sounding way to write the English word "mahjong."

So in other words 麻將 (ma jiang) is more recent as a transliteration of Majong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 211.27.70.195 (talk) 00:24, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

In 《清稗類鈔》, the author 徐珂 (1869-1928) conjectured that the name 麻雀 was probably the rhymes of 馬弔, an ancient card game which most believe that the design of Mahjong's suits (but not the gameplay) were based on. While his conjecture may be wrong, it shows that the name 麻雀 can at least be traced back to late Qing Dynasty. And Hong Kongers and Japanese have always been calling Mahjong by this name. The alternative name 麻將, in contrast, is a recent name for the game. It is mainly used by the Mandarin-speaking people. I guess they call Mahjong 麻將 instead of 麻雀 because (1) they translate the name back from English, or (2) it is easier to pronounce 麻將 in Mandarin. I also believe that "Mahjong" is the transliteration of 麻雀 (not 麻將) using some old romanisation scheme.
Anyway, although 麻雀 literally means "sparrow", that Mahjong is called 麻雀 is probably just coincidence. Of course, there are different hypotheses or legends about this (as some discussions by the others above have shown), but such things are difficult to prove.218.191.201.236 (talk) 16:07, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I am a bit surprised to see that 麻將 is the Chinese name of Mahjong, but 麻雀 is the "alternative name". The latter existed long before the former and it is still in active use in Japan, Hong Kong and Guangdong. Although I don't think the contributors are deliberately undermining the name 麻雀, the article nevertheless is showing some cultural preferences.The suffocated (talk) 16:44, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I would really like to see some citation on this still. The Chinese site Baidu's article on 麻將 also mentions 麻雀 but not because 麻雀 was 麻將 but a completely different predecessor "game" that was created as a reward system due to a food shortage brought on by sparrows eating the grain in the granary. The reward was bamboo carved tiles that they could use to play a game with, which would eventually evolve in to 麻將. This is uncited in their article but probably have some kernel of truth. They do however mention that the origin of the name of 麻將 is due to the diminutive form of 麻雀 - 麻雀儿. Also 麻將 is now the name of game in mandarin which is the official language in China currently; hence this is not a cultural preference. Quite frankly because 麻雀 predates the name 麻將 doesn't mean the article should be based on that. Otherwise we'd have to call the article on violin, the vitula article. It's not the origin of the name, it's the current official name that makes the name of the article. Misosoup7 (talk) 14:19, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

Alternative Names for Tiles[edit]

Coming from a Western household who played Mah jong for many years, we use different names for the tiles:

  • Circles - Plates
  • Characters - Cracks

We also had a couple of specific ones:

  • White Dragon - White Soap (probably from the character's oblong shape)
  • 1 Bamboo - Dickie bird (as it had a picture of a bird perching on the bamboo)
  • 8 Bamboo - Maggie's britches (no idea about that one, probably related to the 'M' shape)

Anybody else use these or other names, or was it just our screwy family? --Jquarry 00:58, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

The 1 Bamboo is traditionally referred to as a sparrow, due to most sets featuring a decorative bird. American Mahjong uses "Craks" as a substitute for "Character" (so "1 Crak" and "1 Character" is the same), but Chinese and international rules do not use "crak". Users of Mahjong solitaire will also refer to the character suit as "crak", due to the manual of Shanghai having stated as such (in such a parlance, however, the bamboo suit is abbreviated to "bam" and the circle suit is referred to as "dots"). I have never heard of the other terms in any common usage. BTW, there is no character on the white dragon. The tiles in most sets are either entirely blank or has a blue decorative frame (to tell them apart from actual "replacement tiles"). kelvSYC 19:12, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

In some older sets the white dragon has the letter "P", for the cantonese Po, meaning white or blank.Saxophobia 12:21, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

P is for pai, which is Wade-Giles for "white" (Hanyu Pinyin would have it as bai) - po (or bo, using Hanyu Pinyin does not denote any term used in Mahjong. kelvSYC 07:20, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

In ne of the sets used by our group the green dragon has the letter F on it, resulting in it being called "the fat dragon"

...not really, that's how you pronounce it (發 fā). I have a book of American rules that cites "Bam" "Crak" and "Soap", but the others seem more part of family tradition than of fact. ALTON .ıl 03:51, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

In my family, and going back apparently to the Mah Jongg craze of the 1920s, the One Bamboo is jocularly called the Rubber Duck. The round ones are always called Dots; nothing else has ever been heard. J S Ayer (talk) 20:43, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

  • I of course meant "in our family." J S Ayer (talk) 20:15, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Vista game[edit]

A version of Mahjong is being included as one of the pre-installed games on Windows Vista, in the same way that Minesweeper and Solitaire have traditionally been. Could we mention this as an example of the game's increasing popularity in the West? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ygoloxelfer (talkcontribs) 14:45, 18 December 2006 (UTC).

For all we know it could be Mahjong solitaire, which has been in some Windows installations since 95. kelvSYC 16:47, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
It is Mahjong solitaire :( Random user123 00:59, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Mahjong Competition Rules section[edit]

I suggest moving the lengthy section that is Mahjong Competition Rules to the Scoring in Mahjong page, since most of it is just about another scoring system---a seldomly used scoring system that is neither popular nor authoritative. Very few mahjong players partake in international competitions, and even fewer mahjong players use the PRC's state-sponsoredChinese Official rules/International Tournament rules.

The fact that international competitions take place, along with the picture in that section, could probably be moved to the Trivia section. Cgkm 12:33, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Again, scoring is the greatest divergence within Mahjong (and that is why we have so many disorganized scoring articles). So far there are few widespread-use sets of rules:

  • Chinese classical (or Hong Kong style) - tends to be low-scoring and highly demanding (all-pung hand or better to win) - any "freak of nature" hands (13 terminals, big 4 winds, etc) tend to be a game-breaker.
  • Taiwan 16 (with or without automatic 8-flower victory)
  • Japanese (there is a well-established Japanese standard, which may be played with or without dora) - widely implemented in video games
  • NMJL/AMJA (but some contend that's not "real Mahjong")
  • Shanghai style - even the virtually trivial scores points (where else do you score a point for a pair of fives)
  • International rules - the only one I've seen where the 13 terminals score less than the nine lights (even though the nine lights is correctly the harder hand to pull off). It exists solely to have a common ground for international competition. Incorporates mainly Shanghai-based rules, with Japanese influences (riichi is in, but worth only one point), but "freak of nature" hands tend to be worth very little in comparison (the only true game-breakers are winning off the draw, or pickoff off the draw).
  • Babcock - the little red book is still the most authoritative English source, and the only one where losers score points
  • Wright-Patterson

At the very least these have to be described in detail. Still, I do have to mention that most computer Mahjong implementations usually state their scoring rules very clearly and not rely on any "standard" (and I am not aware of any Mahjong game where you could customize your scoring rules).

kelvSYC 07:32, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

First Footnote

All the material that relates to the first footnote (origins of tiles) is unsubstantiated. The footnote references Jonathan Butler's the Tiles of Mah Jong, which is not a published work. Jonathan Butler does have a website at http://homepage.mac.com/zenblaster/mj/mahjong.html but this does not support the text nor is it a reliable source. All of that material ought to be reviewed and perhaps taken down.

Fair use rationale for Image:Psp-japanese-MahjongTaikai.jpg[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Psp-japanese-MahjongTaikai.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.BetacommandBot 04:23, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Tim Tang Test[edit]

I think this line has nothing to do with Mahjong and is nothing but shameless promotion for that webpage.

The game of Mahjong is introduced in level 12 of the Tim Tang Test, the longest and hardest online puzzle in the world.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by 193.95.201.11 (talkcontribs)

That guy spams that link everywhere. We just go through and remove it later. We need to figure out how to ban him permanently. DreamGuy 18:59, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Multiple names[edit]

Just noticed that there are 2 sets of names for the game in the article's intro paragraph. Maybe someone should clarify that. -- Hongooi 15:32, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Gameplay (Tetraphobia)[edit]

I'm not quite sure if the superstition about all four players throwing a "West" out is tetraphobia. I think it's more because death is also called "returning to the west", and not because the number "four "sounds like "death". Bockbockchicken 15:13, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't know Chinese, but even I can see that the ideograms for "four" and "west" are almost identical. — 92.40.16.214 (talk) 12:12, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

World Series of Mahjong[edit]

Apparently there was this huge cash mahjong tournament (with its own unique way of scoring) with a first prize of 500,000 USD was held lately in Macau. http://www.world-series-mahjong.com/ The site also links to a CNN report about it too http://www.cnn.com/video/partners/clickability/index.html?url=/video/sports/2007/06/17/macdonald.mahjong.cnn Just thought I'd point this out; seems pretty significant judging by the money involved and how the cnn report approached it. A google search reveals random tidbits from various news sources as well. There's also information from the rec.games.mahjong newsgroup as well.Archon Wing 19:01, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Winning a Mahjong Game[edit]

Winning a mahjong game is not called 糊 in Chinese. The correct character for this is 和 with the same pronounciation as 糊. Ziguang 04:34, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

A Suggestion[edit]

could we make reference to links to websites where mahjong is playable,a site i found out that is free is 'mahjongtime.com'..but could this be seen on wikipedia,as an act of open publicism?...please reply on my user talk page,thank you.. clcheung 05:33, 5 August 2007 (UTC) Wongdai

The source of the pictures[edit]

i looked at the page about four months ago and saw,some pictures..out of the 3 kung fu mahjong films,were they removed because of this copyright violation?..(just wondering)clcheung 05:36, 5 August 2007 (UTC) Wongdai

Thats because the fair use of screenshots from a movie should only be used in the wiki article about that movie. LDHan 08:04, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
That's not quite true: there could be commentary on the movie in an article other than the movie, where such shots would be appropriate. But there are still at least three images in this article that come from films, and that should not be necessary. Someone should look in Commons:Category:Mahjong to see whether there are appropriate free substitutes. - Jmabel | Talk 17:19, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Game Wind and Prevailing Wind[edit]

When describing the game wind, the pre-September 18, 2007 version of the page indicates that the dealer is East, and the player to the *right* is South, and so on. On September 18 someone changed that to the player to the left, which is inconsistent with the order in which the players take tiles from the wall. I changed it back to "right=south" because that's the only version of the game I personally know of (I'm from Hong Kong, but based on computer versions of the game I believe the Japanese rules are the same.) If there are regional variations that designate "left=south", it would be helpful if someone can write a sentence or two saying which region(s) follow this other rule, instead of overwriting the existing description. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.12.142.210 (talk) 10:04, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

The help file of one of the two Mahjong programs I own (note that by this I'm not including any of the numerous Shanghai programs I also own) explained that the compass rose used in Mahjong play is the mirror image of the one used in navigation and mapmaking. — 92.40.32.225 (talk) 14:11, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
The wind directions can be confusing, as the direction is somewhat opposite. I say somewhat because it is really a normal compass from a different perspective; as an observer, think of it as if you were looking at a see-through compass from the opposite side (ie, N and S are the same, but E and W are reversed). So yes, it is indeed a mirror image of a normal navigational compass, resulting in the flipping of east and west directions. Cerebralix (talk) 04:31, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Instead of using the term "inverted compass" it would have saved me some searching and head scratching if "mirror-image compass" or something equivalent (and more eloquent, if possible) had been used. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.101.143.217 (talk) 20:44, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Asian variant?[edit]

Isint there an asian variant? Or is it already one of the variants, just named differently? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.215.140.84 (talk) 01:36, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

The game originated in China. And China is in Asia. Almost every variant is an Asian variant. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.89.73.109 (talk) 00:09, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

special hands[edit]

"American Mahjong is a variant where only special hands exist." This is NOT TRUE! 13 union and purity is considered special hands, and is allowed in standard play!!! Who say that only american mahjong allows special hands? Ragnaroknike (talk) 09:19, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

The wording of the sentence is crucial. The sentence "American Mahjong is a variant where only special hands exist." means that there are only special hands in American mahjong, not that American mahjong is the only variant with special hands! Phytomagus (talk) 07:18, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

"first exported to the United States"[edit]

I've removed the following:

The game was first exported to the [[United States]] by the American [[Lifestyle brand]], [[Abercrombie & Fitch]], in [[1920]].<ref>[http://www.abercrombie.com/anf/hr/jobs/careers.html], A&F Careers, History, "1920"</ref>

I've done this for two reasons:

  1. Abercrombie.com is not a disinterested authority.
  2. At least if stated in this way, it's blatantly untrue. Just look at the photos of San Francisco by Arnold Genthe, which predate 1920.

Hoary (talk) 06:24, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

schools[edit]

are there schools that teach you how to play this game —Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.110.204.193 (talk) 00:54, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Suits for dealing tiles[edit]

I think more specific information is required for the combination of suits for each number of dealing tiles.

For example:

  • 136 tiles: 17 stacks for each player
            consisting suits of of dots, bamboo, characters + Wind + Dragon 
  • 144 tiles: 18 stacks for each player
  • 148 tiles: 19 stacks for dealer and player opposite, 18 for rest
  • 152 tiles: 19 stacks for each player

I'm very new into mahjong, so I am not very sure about this. Please correct if i am wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nezs (talkcontribs) 17:04, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

assumptions[edit]

This article assumes you know how to play Mahjong and could really use a major re-write. Coming here to find information about game play it's extremely difficult to get a basic grasp of the game. What is 'prevailing wind' or west wind. There were several terms reference that I don't have any idea what they mean. Matttail (talk) 18:32, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

To my mind this article needs a major rewrite; I found large sections of it more confusing than enlightening. For instance, in the section about 3-player mahjong, I would have been baffled by the mention of "ten thousand" if I hadn't already known that the red ideogram in the lower half of every Characters tile is the ideogram for "ten thousand" or "myriad". Still, at least I discovered that "wan" is the Chinese name for this ideogram, which explains why some mahjong games refer to the Characters suit as Wan. — 92.40.163.162 (talk) 11:42, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Style consistency: upper vs lower case[edit]

A minor annoyance, but I don't think "mahjong" is considered a proper noun,[3] so for consistency it should be spelled with a lowercase "m", except where normal rules of English would necessitate capitalization. Ham Pastrami (talk) 09:29, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Missing images[edit]

Can someone replace missing images with new ones? 91.122.114.210 (talk) 04:15, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Japanese[edit]

There should be more on Japan, since it seems like there are a lot of MJ things in Japanese culture. 76.66.198.171 (talk) 10:20, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree. There are two separate articles related to the Japanese variant that are linked to this article, but you can't access them from here. They're Japanese Mahjong yaku and Japanese Mahjong scoring rules. Alphapeta (talk) 01:29, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Agreed, with conditions. Along with scoring differences, I think that there are enough cultural and historical notes surrounding the Japanese incarnation to merit this. More info should be organized from proper sources before that happens though, and we need to figure out how to keep redundancy to a minimum. Cerebralix (talk) 02:47, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

There is something seriously wrong with the second paragraph in the Current Development section, mainly the first sentence about Japanese attitudes towards Mahjong. To begin with, gambling is outright illegal in Japan per the Criminal Code, Chapter 23 (specifically articles 185-186) and is punishable by some substantial fines and/or imprisonment.[4] Unless this is cleared up soon, I'm removing that misleading edit. Cerebralix (talk) 05:34, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Having lived in Japan for eight years, I can assure you, there is nothing misleading about that statement. Mahjong is very much a gambling game in Japan. The Japanese love to gamble and don't let silly things like laws stop them. Pachinko's even worse for gambling. The Yakuza make a LOT of money in Pachinko parlors. Toddcarnes (talk) 13:51, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

There's a separate article for the Japanese variation now. KyuuA4 (Talk:キュウ) 13:34, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

game and hand have multiple meanings[edit]

game is used for the smallest play unit (one round has at least 4 games), and the full game consists of 4 rounds.(see turns and rounds)

hand is mostly used for the tiles a player has, but also for the smallest play unit (one round has at least 4 games): Under "Abortive draws", it says "game is declared drawn" but also "the hand is drawn"

What are the standard english names? If several variants are used, I would suggest to add a new chapter near the top of the article which defines these terms: What variants exist and which terms are used throughout this wiki article

Wikiwr (talk) 15:23, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

How many different special hands are there?[edit]

We should probably get a list of them; considering that, just like "Da Bai Fen", there are a plethora of different hands that you can have. For example, if you're lucky enough to get all 16 wind tiles during the game, then you get a x1024 (Or some other abnormally large multiple of a power of 2) multiplier on your score. If you get all 12 dragons and 5 more tiles, then you can get a pretty big (I don't know any specifics) multiplier as well.

I have no doubt there are hundreds of special hands. There is even an "All green" meld, in which all the tiles you have are completely green, as well as a "seven pairs" meld, in which you have seven pairs. ZtObOr 15:51, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

I suspect that different rulesets have different special hands. Game Of Four Winds by Romt Software has four all-green hands (the Great Green Major, Great Green Minor, Small Green Major and Small Green Minor hands), being different combinations of Bamboo tiles (which are regarded as "green" regardless of the actual colour(s) used) and Green Dragons. If I recall correctly, Hong Kong Mahjongg by Nine Dragons Software also has all-red hands (Wan+Red Dragon) and all-white hands (Circles+White Dragon). Both also have "pure" hands (all one suit) and "semipure" hands (one suit plus winds or dragons). — 92.40.163.162 (talk) 12:16, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Khanhoo Vs. Mahjong[edit]

An entry on the game has been added to the article as a link to its predecessor Khanhoo. Krenakarore (talk) 14:24, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

causing seizures[edit]

It would be nice to include a peer reviewed professional journal's take on this "fact," rather than a BBC news story. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.15.49.21 (talk) 09:28, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

More history[edit]

I would like to see a lot more about the history of Majong. The obvious question that should be answered is this: What is the common origin of both Mahjong and playing cards? They must have both descended from the same kind of game, probably played on the silk road, which would account for the broad geographical range of the two kinds of games.—MiguelMunoz (talk) 02:21, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Separate articles for the Variants[edit]

I'm recommending separate articles on the different Mahjong variants, like that of the American and Japanese versions. KyuuA4 (Talk:キュウ) 08:03, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Organization of basic mechanics of game and terms[edit]

For the sake of introducing the game to someone completely unfamiliar with mahjong, i think it would be a good idea to explain the mechanics and rules of one variant. While i myself prefer other variants, Hong Kong is by far the most popular one, it is simple, uses all the tiles minus joker and animals, uses all of the mechanics minus dora,sacred discard and has a winner take all scoring and a very simple scoring method, 16 minimum hands and most of the used limit hands all elements common in some way in most other variations. In this way i think it makes an excelent version to describe the mechanics,which is all easily referenced as well, and in which a complete beginner can then learn other variations.

Variations should follow that section, with links to the pages of the variations and links to scoring. Is there anyone who wants to comment on this or who has other ideas?

Shabidoo 10:09, 14 July 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shabidoo (talkcontribs)

Encoding[edit]

How is the article encoded? I have not found a satisfactory rendering of the content of the brackets after 'one through nine' in the 'Individual suits' section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.192.213.27 (talk) 19:40, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

I noticed they were not working for me, so did some searching and found a font that fixed it, which I've added an external link to.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 13:39, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

May cause health problems?[edit]

"(Playing Mahjong as a gambling game) sometimes leads to aggressive gambling and social behavior, as well as health problems, though interestingly there is also research which reveals health benefits." I don't think it is a very encyclopedic statement. Playing a table game can lead to health problems? I cannot see it as logical that there could be health problems (or benefits) that are unique to and likely caused by playing this game. This statement does not make sense. Mal7798 (talk) 01:33, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

I agree so much I went ahead and took the sentence out. The first part was completely unsourced and dubious. The second part was sourced, but it was a bad source (a self-published blog by a non-expert). We do have a source in the article itself that says that it can have health benefits for seniors with dementia, but that part didn't seem to have enough weight to include in the lead. However, if others think it's important enough, I recommend the sentence: "Some research has shown that playing Mahjong may provide health benefits to those suffering from dementia." Qwyrxian (talk) 03:13, 4 September 2010 (UTC)


I agree its better to leave any of this out of the lead, there have been a few deaths recently of people playing Mahjong for long hours and Ive read more than a couple articles on people unable to control their addiction (even when not gambling). Ill put this info in the main section once I have time to source it properly.

Mhing[edit]

The current article says "One brand of mahjong cards calls these Mhing", I don't believe this is true. Mhing is a commercial game based upon Mahjong cards but plays very differently because of different hands and scoring. To say that mahjong cards are called Mhing is, I think, somewhat misleading. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.181.56.192 (talk) 09:53, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

That is correct--I didn't notice that before. Mhing is a wholly separate game (much like the way Uno or Rummikub are based on standard western packs of cards, but not actually the same). I'll remove that sentence. Qwyrxian (talk) 22:01, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Make over[edit]

I proposed a reformatting of the article during the summer and no one responded. It needs this make over, as there are repeated elements and in general it is desperately needed. I will use the Hong Kong version to describe the rules as it includes elements from all other variations (minus Japanese mahjong), it is probably the post popular variation and it is simple and has a simple scoring system for those who are not familiar with the game. Wikipedia encourages people to be bold. Shabidoo | Talk 12:11, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

I concur with the idea of re-doing the article--it's definitely a mess. I've been watching, but mainly on the look out for vandalism and bad EL.
I'm a little concerned, though, about your idea to use just the Hong Kong version to cover the rules--it seems you should be able to do it more generally--in a sense, using an abstract Mahjong game which doesn't exist but covers all "important" elements. This is because I particularly wonder about your claim of popularity--do you have any evidence that it's the most popular? As far as I know, in the U.S., people play either American Mahjong or Japanese Mahjong; in Japan, of course, only Japanese Mahjong is played. Is Hong Kong mahjong popular outside of mahjong? In fact, the more I think about it, it's usually not appropriate to make a general article about only one country-specific example. Unless you could show that Hong Kong Mahjong is not only more popular, but more popular than most other variants combined, I'd be opposed to making it the sole example. But maybe I'm not understanding example what you mean, so maybe your proposed version will work.
Of course, feel free to be WP:BOLD--we can always go on to Revert and Discuss if need be. Qwyrxian (talk) 12:37, 1 October 2010 (UTC)


At last, a reply. Thanks for your thumbs up and voicing your concern. Better to hear concern before I remodel the article and have it reverted. The main reason why I would like to use (old) Hong Kong rules, is because it is in a sense neutural. It uses all the traditional pieces, patterns and a few limit hands while still having a very simple playing mechanism, scoring mechanism and in general it is easy to learn. All other variations that I know either builds on this or each have their own very unique rules or scoring patterns.


If you have ever taught friends how to play mahjong, you know that it is a super super confusing process for them and that it takes time (especially if you dont have a set with numbers on it). Even if a casual reader wants insight to the game (and not just to learn the rules, and there is no reason why wikipedia shouldn´t explain the rules to someone who wants to try out the game) inventing some generic game and then all the possible variations is absurdly confusing, and I think would be even more confusing than the article already is.


Even more, comming up with a generic version isn´t really necesary cause I really believe that Old Hong Kong rules is itself a generic version and as the rules are explained now, its pretty close to Hong Kong. Lets forget if its popular or not.

However it is written, I really think that Japanese rules and American rules should not be mentioned in detail in the main article. It can and should be mentioned that they use the tiles or form patterns or score things differently, but not those particular differences. Those differences can be mentioned in separate subsections and or articles.

Whadaya think? Shabidoo | Talk 14:17, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm willing to trust you both that Hong Kong rules are basic, so I guess it's alright if we go there. I doubt that we can find enough reliable sources to make separate articles for American and Japanese Mahjong (especially if none of us speak Japanese), so we'll probably have to just do it with subsections. We could always start new articles later. I know something about American Mahjong, but nothing I can support with reliable sources. At this point I guess it would be better to have a cleaner, more accurate article on one Mahjong variant than a mishmash that isn't clear at all. Just make sure the rule section explicitly states that it's the rules for the Hong Kong version. Qwyrxian (talk) 14:34, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

mysterious user and changes[edit]

First, thank you VERY much mysterious user with shifting IP addresses. May I recommend you get an account? It doesnt have to have a name, you can even call it 220-156-1-95 if you want, but this way it can be clear who has edited what and there can be conversation, but again, its just a suggestion. All of your edits have been VERY good ones, cut out unneeded stuff though I did wince at a few but in terms of compromise and colaboration its not important and they were tiny things. I did rework the first part of the variation part as I think its important and put it back.

That being said, I will put up a consensus survey for eye/eyes. I favour eye, as that is what ive always known, is listed in web sites I have seen and I feel eyes sounds awkward and ambiguous in english.

But again, THANK YOU for the really good edits. Mahjong is now a much better article. Shabidoo | Talk 23:21, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Eye vs eyes, consensus survey[edit]

Im proposing a consensus survey (not actual survey) for the mahjong page (it will also give us a chance to see who if anyone is actually following the page. I prefer eye, mysterious user has proposed eyes by changing the text to eyes. Neither are concretely wrong or right. Reasons for eye: I prefer eye because it is what im used to, what ive seen in websites and what to me sounds less ambiguous. ex winning hand: 2 chows, 2 kongs and 1 eyes. (see what i mean?). Anyone? Shabidoo | Talk 23:28, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

(Note: I am not the mysterious user you referred to in the above.) In chinese, a pair of identical tiles will be referred to as 一對眼 ("a pair of eyes") instead of 一隻眼 ("an eye"), but I also prefer "eye" to "eyes", as this Wikipedia is, after all, the english one. The suffocated (talk) 18:30, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
eye makes more sense unless you want 2 eyesesTetron76 (talk) 18:56, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

I give up. No discussion, no debate, no consensus.[edit]

I really liked working on this article and trying to make it readable. Part of the fun of it was colaborating, asking people what they thought and doing something by consensus. Now, a mystery guy who has no talk page keeps changing everything, reverts my edits using one source (although all sources I know point to the opposite), and there is just no discussion, no debate. It just seems arrogant and dictatorial. This mystery guy works like a dictator. I tried to talk to a couple of people who made the edits and they ignored my messages. Whats the point of working on an article together if everything is reverted without discussion? Im not in the mood for an editing war, so, so be it, do as you like with this page, but I promise it will be flat and boring and sterile if it ends up being just one dictatorial writer doing everything Shabidoo | Talk 21:58, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

While it may be the case to have a genuine difference of language in which case the least contraversial version is preferable even if it has less information. But having said that if there are many variations of Mah-Jong rules (I have seen enough spelling variations too) then it is probably the case that another Mahjong page is warranted such as Mahjong (rules) so that the material can be clearly separated.Tetron76 (talk) 18:55, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Mahjong in the West[edit]

This section of the article (excepting a few sentences) is all about Mahjong in the U.S. News bulletin: the U.S. is not the only country in "the West".--99.252.242.154 (talk) 15:22, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

I used to have a Jewish coworker who played Mahjong with other Hong Kong coworkers in the office every Friday after work. Of course, he had to switch to the Hong Kong rules, but the basics are almost the same. Winning strategy is all different when the rules are different. He said that his mom and grandma played mahjong regularly for decades. They just called the game Jong. They started playing back in the 1950's and they were hooked since then. I am curious if this is only a US phenomonen, perhaps "the West" in the title can be changed to "the US". Kowloonese (talk) 20:49, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Dear 99.252.242.154, this offers you an opportunity to contribute to Wikipedia. Be bold! Write! And add non-American content to that section! YEAH! Shabidoo | Talk 01:22, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Cannot export to pdf[edit]

I've tried from several different computers, and I even went back in history and tried Shabidoo's edit in February ( [[5]] ). The page gets up to 89% and stops. This does not happen on other pages; it doesn't happen on the German version. It even happens if I make a book first and then try to export that as a pdf. And it has been happening for two days.

Can someone else try it and tell me if they do not have the same problems?

Thank you, Gregconquest (talk) 11:29, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Try it now: I've hidden all of the Unicode Mahjong tiles while the page is printing and it seems to fix the problem. I guess the PDF generator doesn't have those characters, which are fairly obscure. Obviously that content won't be visible in the PDF but they largely duplicate the various images which are much larger and clearer.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 14:21, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Different types of scoring (shown with symbols)[edit]

I am going to share different types of scoring (shown with symbols, based on Hong Kong mahjong) in here in order to let others who do not really familiar with Mahjong know how to score.Humi6psk (talk) 22:55, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Hi humi...I just took a look at those edits. Its a good idea to include all of those and thanks for doing all the work in getting the tiles to form example hands...but I think it would be better to put that into the "hong kong scoring" article...as the Mahjong article is already pretty big. It was decided to use "hong kong" as a general set of rules to use to explain how mahjong works, as its relatively simple. I think seeing a list of limit hands, in a simplified explanation of the rules, will only overwealm the reader with even more information. However, if the user wants more elaboration on limit hands, they could consult the hong kong scoring article. Do you get what I'm trying to say? --Shabidoo | Talk 20:04, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

White Dragon[edit]

The article shows the white dragon tile as containing a blue rectangle. This is true of newer sets but in antique sets, there are usually 6 blank tiles, four of which are used as white dragons. I suggest that to avoid confusion, the white dragon tile is depicted as EITHER a blue rectangle tile OR a blank tile in the article instead of JUST a blue rectangle tile. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.86.7.250 (talk) 10:11, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Limit Hand: Heavenly Gates[edit]

My understanding is that the hand Heavenly Gates is never ever melded. The 13 tiles must be concealed, and depending on rule variations, the 14th can be a discard (impure) or self drawn (pure), although both ways pay the limit. The whole reason behind its name Heavenly Gates, and reputation as the most perfect hand, is that any of the same suit tiles will complete the hand (complementing the 13 tiles in hand as a pair, pung or chow, to produce the required four sets and a pair):

  • If the hand is completed by a 1: the hand is 111 123 456 789 99
  • If the hand is completed by a 2: the hand is 111 345 678 999 22
  • If the hand is completed by a 3: the hand is 123 345 678 999 11
  • If the hand is completed by a 4: the hand is 111 234 456 789 99
  • If the hand is completed by a 5: the hand is 111 234 678 999 55
  • If the hand is completed by a 6: the hand is 123 456 678 999 11
  • If the hand is completed by a 7: the hand is 111 234 567 789 99
  • If the hand is completed by a 8: the hand is 111 234 567 999 88
  • If the hand is completed by a 9: the hand is 123 456 789 999 11

Note how the sets shift depending on which tile completes the hand. If any sets are melded, the winning tile is much more limited and the hand is thus not 'Heavenly', but ordinary. Having melded sets would be considered cheating - it elevates a mere single suit hand of multiple chows and one or two pungs to a limit hand. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.210.161.120 (talk) 08:21, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

In most versions Heavenly gates must be concealed or fully concealed. In a few variations or table rules...a previously melded pong of 1 and or 9 can be included and it is considered half-limit or specific amount of points less than a limit hand/max points.. --Shabidoo | Talk 03:50, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Beijing Mahjong[edit]

In the flash game Beijing Mahjong http://www.mahjongready.com/games/Play/Beijing-Mahjong.htm (fully Chinese), I don't understand any of the unusual winning hands (from the instructions). Can anyone translate these winning hands (and the conditions) so I can try them while playing:

  • 坐庄 (坐莊) - 两翻 (points doubled for hand)
  • 听牌 (聽牌)- 两翻
    • Won with a ready hand
  • 门清 (門清) - 两翻
  • 自摸 - 两翻
    • Won with the winning tile drawn?
  • 地胡 - 四翻 (points quadrupled for hand)
  • 天听 (天聽) - 两翻
  • 天胡 - 四翻
  • 杠呲 - 两翻
    • Winning tile is from a Kong
  • 捉伍魁 - 两翻
  • 一条龙 (一條龍) - 两翻
    • Hand has 1-9, Chow (吃) of a suit.
  • 七小对 (七小對)- 两翻
    • Hand has seven pairs
  • 豪华七小对 - 四翻
  • 字一色 - 四翻
    • Hand is pure honors (no wan, circle, or bamboo tiles)
  • 清一色 - 四翻
    • Hand is purely either wan, circle, or bamboo tiles (no honors)
  • 全求人 - 十六翻 (points multiplied by a power of 16?)

For the kongs:

  • 明杠 - 1個(5分/個)
    • Exposed kong, 5 points for each said kong in winning hand.
  • 暗杠 - 1個(10分/個)
    • Concealed kong, 10 points for each said kong in winning hand.

Some already have conditions, so I would like others to help me as well. (In-game, some of the characters are in Traditional Chinese) Thanks!