When the OMs play together it is always a friendly game. We rarely – if ever – have a cross word or are upset if we lose a turn, miss exchanging a tile for a Joker, don’t notice a discarded tile we should have picked up, or are called dead in a game. After all, it’s just a game and there is always another hand to play. But in this month’s issue of Gladys Grad‘s question and answer column, it is clear that there are some players who forget that this is a friendly game. Read on…

Q. I conduct tournaments in my home.  We follow the rules and offer Mah Jongg Master Points, so it’s a real tournament.  Even when I play in my regular social game, I like to follow tournament rules.  But sometimes I feel like the “enforcer,” ….. players say “just let it go,” “that’s not nice,”this is a friendly game.” If I mess up in a game, I take the consequences, so I’m always surpised by how angry they can get.  Should I go easier on them?
A.  Everyone who plays the game knows the rules.  And everyone who plays in a tournament knows that there are rules to follow.  If  a player chooses not to follow them, they are always welcome to not  play in that tournament.  Have you noticed that the ones who are the most unsporting, ungracious or rude are usually the most vocal and will blame you and argue the loudest?
     What is so hard about playing the game the way it was designed?  I know that when you remind someone of a rule, you do it with candor and diplomacy.  Don’t go easier on them. Those angry players deserve to be reminded that there are likely some really nice people out there who would love to replace them in your game. 
Q. During our game today, I called a player dead after she exposed the 3 white dragons.  I could not find any hand on the card at the time that was not concealed with 3 dragons.  She assured me she was not dead.  What is the correct way to handle this situation…the other two players called her dead too.  She then showed us 222 000 1111 4444, and the three of them continued to play.  She was annoyed because the other two now knew what hand she was playing.  Can you clarfy?
 A. When you are in a home game, you don’t have the option of calling over the tournament director to make the decision whether the exposer was dead or not. In this case, you count on other players in your game to back you up (if you are right). Since the card is so new, perhaps no one in your game was immediately too sure that she was dead. But, since they all agreed with you and thought she was dead…then they would also be dead. None of you should have continued the game.

    That said, in a tournament if you declare that someone is dead, and she isn’t dead…then you would be dead. You would cease playing, and receive minus 10 points (-10) for that game.  In this case, all of you except the exposer would have been dead, and the game would cease.   The exposer would receive +10 points for a wall game.

     In your home game, you would all cease playing. The NMJL can verify if you would all pay the last-man-standing the value of her hand.

     It’s too bad that the exposed-player was “annoyed because the other 2 players now knew what hand she was playing.”  Since it was glaringly obvious that it was the only hand on the card with 3 exposed soaps, she doesn’t have much of a case against you personally. This hand is like a flashing red light (just like the 2013 hand with 3 Wests). 

These questions and answers are thanks to Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg Tournaments, and her April, 2014 issue of her Mah Jongg Madness Newsletter.

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