Walls are built and set in front of each of four racks as usual. The empty 4th seat will by my dog, “Chili”. I am East; he is on my Right. Three players put their tiles on their racks to view. Chili’s tiles are placed face down on the top (exposure area) of his rack. I pass 3 tiles to my Right (Chili) and place them face down on the near end. The person to Chili’s right takes any 3 tiles except the 3 I have just placed at the other end. The Chili’s tiles are mixed up. The passing goes on as usual. For passing across, again; player opposite Chili passes 3 tiles to the end of Chili’s rack and takes any random 3 from the remaining tiles. Chili’s tiles are then mixed. The Charleston continues in this “blind” manner until done. Then Chili’s tiles are all added to the end of the wall, and we play “threesies”. We call it “blind” because Chili’s tile are random, and no one is really making any decision as to which ones to pass.
Diane notes that the official rules say to abandon the Charleston altogether when only playing with 3. This is just her group’s fun variation. And the OMs have played this way, as well. Have you?
Yes, this is also what I teach new students who will find themselves with only 3 players. It works well and because it IS “blind” they have a chance to capture a joker.
Thanks, Barbie – and that is an interesting thought…a way for new students to get an early advantage by picking up a Joker in a blind Charleston.
Beautiful tiles! And great advice too. Another idea for when you only have three players is to deal tiles for the three players and then do two passes to the right and then start the game. Speaking of passes, if you are a beginner, you might like to try this app that helps keep track of the passing:https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mahjongbettor/id685169691?mt=8
So silly of me! This is the link that I meant to include: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-groove/id528492695?mt=8