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).
Hello to all my dear Mah Jongg friends! It has been over a year since I last published anything on this blog and I must say that I have missed you all. So much has happened since you last heard from me…I am living in beautiful Hudson, NY and teaching high school up here in Columbia County. And I am happy to say that there is a lot of Mah Jongg being played up here in the country! Of course, I’m still playing every week with some of my NYC friends – online – and I look forward to those games and staying in touch with my city peeps.
Today was the last day of school before winter break starts for all of next week. I am exhausted and am looking forward to the vacation. But when I walked into my apartment building lobby I saw a group of my neighbors sitting at a card table and I must knew they must be playing my favorite game! So I walked on over and asked if I could watch for a while and they very graciously said yes. And what a lovely group of people they are! Debbie said to me, “whatever happened to your blog? I looked forward to it and got recipes from it and loved seeing all your gifts and ideas.” Well, Debbie inspired me so HERE I AM!
Now I must say that WordPress, the host of this blog, has changed and I have a big learning curve to catch up with and try to figure out how to get back in the habit of blogging. So, I will leave you here today and hopefully will be back in the habit of blogging most days going forward. I’ve missed you all and send thanks to Debbie for inspiring me to get back on my computer and connect once again with all of you.
And if you have any questions or Mah Jongg news to share with me, I’d love to hear from you. You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A player had 4 RED Dragons already exposed on her rack from a previous call for one of the Red Dragons. She declared Mah Jongg and picked up a 6 Bam and added 2 Jokers with it on her rack. Then she proceeded to expose the rest of the Mah Jongg hand. She put three 8 Bams on the rack and then two 2 Craks and two 4 Craks. Of course the hand was dead as she needed two 2 DOTS & two 4 DOTS because the hand calls for 3 suits. Now another player says that since she exposed the 6 Bams first with the 2 jokers, that that part of the hand was still available for exchanging the joker. Was the Joker in the 6 Bam exposure still viable? VS, CA
A. No, that Joker was NOT viable. If it had been a Joker in the previously exposed Red Dragons, then it could be exchanged. But the 6 Bam exposure made with Jokers was still part of the current turn that resulted in it being declared a dead hand.
I hope this will help those of you who are still not sure when a Joker is still viable in a dead hand. Send me some of your situations with dead hands and Jokers and I will post them on a future blog.
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.
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.
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).”