Author Archives: Mah Jongg and Me

About Mah Jongg and Me

Mah Jongg is not just a game. It has become a part of my life that allows me to entertain my Mah Jongg-playing friends, cook great meals to serve to them and test my mental skills during our game play (which, hopefully, is often).

WE LOVE SIAMESE MAH JONGG…AND GLADYS GRAD!

So many of us are now playing Gladys Grad’s Siamese Mah Jongg that it really was only a matter of time before Gladys created a special card for the game. As Gladys says, “Siamese was originally created to be played with the NMJL card.” But, as more and more people became interested in this new version of the game, a new card needed to be designed “specifically for the new strategies and excitement of Siamese Mah Jongg…with extra challenges included for 3 & 4-handed Royale Siamese.”

So, leave it to Gladys to create this card and make it available at a very inexpensive price to add to our Mah Jongg pleasure. The card is the same format that we are used to with rules and how-to play on the back of the triptych card. Once again, Gladys rules! Order some cards for your group and get into the newest form of Mah Jongg that we are all playing and loving!

MAH JONGG FUN IN THE SUN!

Eventually the sun is going to come out this summer and the temperature will rise. When this happens, how about some Mah Jongg in the coolest possible place during the hot summer months? It would seem that people have been beating the heat while playing their favorite game in the water for quite a while. Here are some photos of Mah Jongg players trying to keep their cool – physically and mentally!And just in case you would like to enjoy your summer games in this very same way, there is a company in China by the name of DHgate that will ship a floating Mah Jongg table with chairs to you for $132.84  with free shipping – and I think that is a pretty fair price to be able to play our favorite game in the cool of a pool or lake! If any of you have one of these floating tables, take some photos and send them to me so I can show it to everyone in a future posting.

MY NEWEST ACQUISITION…

I am so excited about my newest toy – a phone popup stand with a Mah Jongg design. I have seen so many people with these stands on the back of their phones but didn’t want to put something plain on my Mah Jongg iPhone case. Last week I was browsing gifts at my favorite Mah Jongg online store, Where the Winds Blow, and sure enough, there was a Mah Jongg popup phone stand, which I immediately ordered.  And yesterday it arrived and immediately was attached to my iPhone…LOVE IT!!!

ANOTHER MAH JONGG MYSTERY SOLVED!

A few days ago I published a posting about the history of Jokers found in our Mah Jongg sets. I noted that I did not know who had originally written the article but asked the readers of this blog to let me know if they had any idea. Well, two of the mavens of the game, Tony and Annelise, both contacted me and told me that the article had come from none other than our dear friend, Tom Sloper. You can see the original article From Tom’s Sloper on Mah-Jongg, written on February 26th, 2012, column #509. Yet another mystery solved thanks to two really wonderful friends in our fabulous Mah Jongg community.

HOW TO GUARANTEE A MAH JONGG GAME IN THE AFTERLIFE…

Um…really?!!!

Well, I’ve got to give this woman a lot of credit for truly loving Mah Jongg!

 

WHEN DID JOKERS START TO APPEAR IN OUR MAH JONGG SETS?

I was just looking through my files and found this very interesting (at least it is to me!) article about the history of Jokers in Mah Jongg. People are always asking if I can tell how old their set might be. When asked this question the first thing I want to know is if your set has “natural Jokers.” Of course, that is not the only determiner of the age of a set – and, as you will read in this article, it is not always accurate –  but it is a good place to start.

Unfortunately, I have no idea who wrote the following article or where it was published. If anyone knows, please email me so that I can give it the appropriate credit. In the meantime, enjoy this article on the history of Jokers.

“Before 1961, there were no Jokers. Flowers were wild, and the number of Flowers fluctuated between 8 and 24. Joker tiles were introduced into the American game in 1961. The number of Flowers and Jokers fluctuated for several years, finally stabilizing at 8F/8J ten years later, in the 1971-72 card.

The NMJL varied the number of Flowers and Jokers for several decades early in the league’s history. People had to cobble together sets to make the number of Flowers required.

In the 1920’s, the standard Mah Jongg set came with 8 Flowers and 0 Jokers (8F/0J). From the founding of the National Mah Jongg League in 1937, the NMJL treated Flowers as Jokers (wild Flowers). Beginning with the 1943 card, more Flowers were added to increase the luck ratio and to allow for more challenging hands.

Some, but certainly not all, American Mah Jongg sets came with Jokers before the NMJL first started requiring them in 1960-61. The number of Flowers and Jokers in a set isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator of the exact date of manufacture of an American set, but an understanding of the NMJL’s fluctuating use of Flowers and Jokers does give some clues.

1937-1942 8F
1943 12F
1944-45 14F
1946 16F
1947-48 18F
1949 20F
1950-55 24F
1956-57 22F
1958-60 20F
1960-62 14F/2J
1962-66 12F/4J
1966-67 8F/6J
1967-68 10F/6J
1968-71 6F/8J
1971-Present 8F/8J

If you have a set with only 2 natural jokers but 14 Flowers, it was probably made in America in the early 1960’s. Domestic set manufacturing began in the1920s and continued into the 1960s. At some point, though, cheaper Chinese imports caused all the American manufacturers to go out of business. Those Chinese companies aren’t always sure what the NMJL requires, so Chinese sets made today often come with extra Flowers and jokers (more than 8F/8J).”