Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg Tournaments, is always thinking of ways to improve our beloved game. In her October newsletter Gladys listed some ideas to add to your games at home. As she notes, these are NOT sanctioned by the National Mah Jongg League (NMJL) or by Mah Jongg Master Point tournaments, but they might be something new to add to your social games. Have any of you incorporated these ideas into your games? Or do you have any other ideas? Let me know and I will post them. BTW, I know the controversy surrounding ‘picking ahead” and I agree with you!
MAH JONGG ACADEMY®
Your Tournament Questions Answered
By Gladys Grad
“GRAND MASTER OF
MAH JONGG TOURNAMENTS”
Q. My group has played Mah Jongg for over 30 years. We’ve added our own “house rules,” and think it’s added some excitement to our game. We play a “hot wall;” we double the cost of payment if someone throws a double when we break the wall with the dice; and we have a “kitty” if we have a wall-game – that is paid to the winner of the next game. But our game can get somewhat predictable, ….do you have some other ideas? Lillian P, CA
A. We’ve listed and explained these ‘house rules” in previous Newsletters, but here’s an existing list….PLUS a couple of new ideas to consider. Remember, these are NOT condoned by the NMJL, nor sanctioned by Mah Jongg Master Point tournaments. But these “rules” might spice up your game….if you’re “game” to try them:
1) HOT WALL;
2) COLD WALL;
3) ATOMIC HAND;
4) 14-TILE GAME;
5) FUTURE TILE/PICKING AHEAD;
6) DOUBLE, TRIPLE, QUADRUPLE THE CARD (!);
7) JOKERS-IN Everyone starts with 1 Joker.
8) BUY A JOKER. 4 Jokers are left out of the walls. The remaining 4 Jokers are mixed into the walls as usual. After East throws out the starting tile, but before a first exposure is made by each individual player, and before they pick to begin their next turn….a player can “buy” a Joker for $$0.50 or 1.00 (which is added to the winner’s pot). Players are limited to buying only one (1) Joker, and ONLY if they DON’T ALREADY HAVE A JOKER IN THEIR HAND. Remember to discard a tile after you’ve “bought” your Joker to begin your turn. Honesty prevails here. You can NOT “buy” a Joker for Mah Jongg. If all 4 of these Jokers (1 each) aren’t bought by each player, none of the remaining of the 4 Jokers can be placed back in the wall for other players to pick.
9) EXCHANGE A JOKER FOR A SYMBOL TILE IN AN EXPOSURE (instead of vice versa). This would help if someone exposed 3 or 4 of the tiles you needed for a single or pair.
10) TAKE OUT AN OLD CARD, AND ADD 4 HANDS TO YOUR GAME. EACH PLAYER CHOOSES ONE HAND TO ADD to the games, i.e., a previous year
FF 2012 2012 2012; and 1111 22 22 22 3333, etc
11) Take a Clue from the CHINESE game. If you have 4 Flowers in your hand, and the numbers on the Folwers are consecutive 1,2,3,4, or SPR, SUM, AUT, WIN, you will get double the payment for your MJ hand, over and above your regular payment. You are also able to exchange a flower in it’s exposure, if you pick it and exchange it yourself.
12) The NMJL has increased, and subsequently decreased, the number of Flowers several times from its inception in 1937 to 1971. Then they added 2 Jokers to the game in 1960; and up to 8 Jokers in 1967.
Creativity and evolution are the building blocks for almost any game to gain in popularity and continuing success. Do you have any ideas you currently use, or you’d like to see implemented in your own game…or an idea you wish would be considered by the NMJL for the official game?