This woman adopted the ancient Chinese game of mahjong to create a popular club in New York that draws hundreds of players every week.
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More facts about Chinese Mahjong
Mahjong (/mɑːˈdʒɒŋ/ mah-JONG, Mandarin: [mǎ.tɕjâŋ]) is a tile-based game that was developed in China during the Qing dynasty and has spread throughout the world since the early 20th century. It is commonly played by four players (with some three-player variations found in Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia). The game and its regional variants are widely played throughout Eastern and South Eastern Asia and have become popular in Western countries too. The game has also been adapted into a widespread online entertainment. Similar to the Western card game rummy, Mahjong is a game of skill, strategy, and calculation and involves a degree of chance.
The game is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols, although some regional variations may omit some tiles or add unique ones. In most variations, each player begins by receiving 13 tiles. In turn players draw and discard tiles until they complete a legal hand using the 14th drawn tile to form 4 melds (or sets) and a pair (eye). A player can also win with a small class of special hands. There are fairly standard rules about how a piece is drawn, how a piece is robbed from another player, the use of simples (numbered tiles) and honors (winds and dragons), the kinds of melds allowed, how to deal the tiles and the order of play. Despite these similarities, there are many regional variations to the rules including rather different scoring systems, criteria for legal winning hands and even private table rules which distinguish some variations as notably different styles of mahjong.
There are 3 suits of simples and in each suit the tiles are numbered from 1 to 9. The suits are bamboos, dots, and characters. There are 4 identical copies of each simples tile totaling 108 simples tiles.
The bamboo suit is also known as “sticks” or “bams” suit; the first tile usually has a bird (traditionally, a peacock or sparrow) instead of a single bamboo. The dots suit is also known as the “wheels”, “balls”, or “coins” suit. The characters suit is also known as the “cracks” or “numbers” suit since the top character is the Chinese number, and the bottom character is the Chinese number “ten thousand”.
There are two different sets of Honors tiles: Winds and Dragons. The Winds are East, South, West, and North. In Mahjong, East (not North) is the beginning. The Dragons are Red, Green, and White. The white dragon has a blue or black frame on the face of the piece or in some sets is entirely blank. These tiles have no numerical sequence like the simples (for example the bamboo pieces number 1 to 9). Like the simples, there are four identical copies of each Honors tile, for a total of 28 Honors tiles.
There are two sets of Bonus tiles: Flowers and Seasons. The flower and season tiles play a unique role in the mechanics of the game. When drawn, the Bonus tile is not added into a player’s hand but are instead set aside and kept near the player’s other tiles for scoring purposes should they win the hand, and an extra tile is drawn in replacement of the Bonus tile.
In addition, unlike the Simple and Honors tiles, there is only a single tile of each Bonus tile, so there are a total of four flower and four season tiles in the set. The tiles have a different artistic rendering of a specific type of flower or season.
It is not necessary to know the names or the Chinese characters of each bonus tile, only the number, as this is associated with a specific direction, and the player receives bonus points when the Bonus tile matches the seat direction. There is no relation between the bonus tile “bamboo” flower and the bamboo suit of simple tiles (ex. 2 bamboo). In traditional Chinese culture, the Four Gentlemen are the plum (winter), orchid (spring), bamboo (summer), and chrysanthemum (autumn) which are regarded as the representative plants of those seasons.
To be continued