The wonderful Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American Style Mah Jongg, offers a Q&A in her monthly newsletter. This month there were a number of very interesting questions. Here are a couple of them with more to follow in a day or two. I’d love to hear your comments!
Q. Someone who winters in Arizona said that the white dragon should be called “white” during play. She got this instruction from a person who runs tournaments in Arizona. Is this now correct for all tournaments?
A. We call the white dragon “Soap.” The NMJL has called it “soap” for many decades. It’s common in Canada to name it “white.” Either name is acceptable in most tournaments. However, if a tournament Host states they want it named “white,” then you should abide by the Host’s rules.
Q. I don’t want to build walls, and I don’t want to throw the dice to break the walls. Too many additional things we have to do. Why?
A. We just love these kinds of questions. How about like what Mom used to say, “Because I said so.” In this case….’because the NMJL said so.’ It’s the rule. However, here is a wonderful response…on Facebook, “This is a game of ceremony, rules and etiquette. Building the wall is part of the ceremony. I cannot imagine forgoing this in the traditional four person game.” Moreover, breaking the wall arbitrarily by the throw of the dice is a method to prevent stacking East’s wall with Jokers; to prevent cheating. This process is used throughout the Mah Jongg playing world.
Does your group build walls and throw the dice to know where to break the wall? I recently played with a woman whose group always breaks the wall at 8. They never throw the dice. I personally like the rituals and ceremonies of the game and would not want to give up any of them. Also, as Gladys pointed out, throwing the dice to determine where to break the wall is a definite method to prevent any cheating. Let me know your thoughts…