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).
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!
Here’s a funny story showing how small the Mah Jongg world really is: this past week I got together with Meredith, a dear friend and one of my best success stories in terms of my Mah Jongg classes. She told me about these gorgeous new racks she had bought for Siamese Mah Jongg. Meredith has become quite the Mah Jongg collector and I was so happy to know that she had branched out to rack collecting as well. End of story…or so I thought.
The next day Lisa – another dear friend and another star from my Mah Jongg classes – came over for an afternoon of Mah Jongg; she brought with her a flyer about the Siamese racks that she and Meredith had bought. I asked her to contact the woman who was making these racks to ask if I could blog about them. She said she would do so. Again, end of story…?
The next day I emailed Lisa and reminded her to contact the maker of the racks for permission to blog about her. Lisa forwarded my name and contact information to this woman and told her I wanted to know about the racks. Shortly after, an email from a “Donna” arrived in my inbox. She said she was happy to send any information I needed. The email was very informal and friendly and I thought to myself, “it is almost as if she knows me and she seems to think I know her husband.”
So, I emailed her back asking for permission to blog about her racks and requesting the pertinent information and photos. The email address showed up simply as “Donna.”
Then suddenly it hit me! I took another look at the details of her email address and saw that it was my dear friend Donna E in Central CA – you know, the Donna I blog about all the time, the Donna who sends me wonderful poems that I share with you, the Donna who is always sending me fabulous Mah Jongg-related gifts that I immediately photograph and put up on the blog, the Donna who selflessly does wonderful Mah Jongg events at the senior center, the Donna who loves Puffins, and on and on!
Donna and I had a good and long laugh at this…Lisa and Meredith had simply responded to a posting on Facebook to buy her racks, not knowing that the woman they were buying from was someone who was one of the most special, thoughtful, and generous people out there in the Mah Jongg community…and a very important and dear friend of mine. So, as I always say, Mah Jongg people are the best people and Donna is one of the prime examples of this. And, look at what a small world our Mah Jongg community can be!
And now, the information on Donna’s beautiful Siamese Mah Jongg racks, lovingly hand-made by her dear husband, Greg:
I have been trying to make “the big hand” all year and have come close but, as we all know, close doesn’t count in Mah Jongg! Imagine my surprise when one of my students, Cheryl C, showed me a photo taken while she was playing Siamese Mah Jongg and where she was successful making that “big hand”…not once, but TWICE! I also noticed that she also had an Eleven Hands Mah Jongg and a closed Consecutive Run Mah Jongg. Don’t you know that I am so proud that I am bursting! She is a star!!!
Oh, boy – today a package arrived from Sheila and Gil Linderman. Housed in a beautiful bag, I found two Mah Jongg racks specifically designed for Siamese Mah Jongg…BRILLIANT!Check out how the tiles play out on these special racks – I am loving how clever they are!Gil is the wonderful Glady Grad’s brother and Sheila is his wife – the two of them are both are very talented and have provided wonderful additions to our Mah Jongg accessories. These racks are available now and if you are interested in purchasing them (BTW, a great holiday gift for your Mah Jongg-playing friends!), contact Gil and Sheila at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that I am playing Siamese Mah Jongg using these racks, I don’t know how I ever lived without them!
Yesterday was a special day – Judy S arrived at LaGuardia around 10am and headed right over to chez moi. From the moment she walked in until she left, we never stopped talking! Although we only met in person for the first time in July at the Destination Mah Jongg Tournament, it is as if we have been friends forever. Judy is such a thoughtful and giving person – she walked in loaded with fabulous gifts for me. And I love them all – a magnetic clip for my refrigerator…Mah Jongg coasters – I LOVE these and I know they will get a lot of use!A purse-sized measuring tape – perfect for using when you are out and about and need to measure tiles or tables or whatever! And, in case you haven’t figured it out, Judy is one of the two CEOs of Dragons on the Green Mah Jongg (Bonnie Wise is her partner in the business) – the company that gives all of those wonderful tournaments in the greater Tampa area. BTW, if you live around Tampa, Judy and Bonnie are also great Mah Jongg teachers. Send me a message if you are interested in taking lessons from them and I will send you their contact information. And a Mah Jongg fabric case to hold my NMJL card – what great gifts!!! I can’t wait until everyone sees my card in this case!After talking away for a couple of hours, we decided it was time for lunch and headed over to the local neighborhood hangout, The Beach Cafe, for a great hamburger. Afterward we headed back to my apartment for hours and hours of Siamese Mah Jongg. All in all, the perfect day!BTW, I must admit that Judy beat the pants off of me today – she is such a great MJ player!
Sometimes something comes along that you just have to share
SIAMESE MAH JONGG™
The following is Gladys’ explanation of how to play with two people:
When I taught this version of TWO-HANDED MAH JONGG to a group of 8 players last week, they liked it so much that they gave up playing their regular group games, and split into four groups of two.
There is absolutely no reason to have to play a drawn-out or less thought-provoking game with only two players.
You will love this simple yet challenging method of playing Mah Jongg. It can be fast, stimulating, and fun, fun, fun.
Two players face each other; and place 2 racks in front of each player.
Build two (2) full walls of tiles, 19 stacks long, parallel to each other.
East throws the dice to break the first wall arbitrarily.
28 Tiles for East, 27 Tiles for opposite player: Each player deals themselves four (4) tiles from the two (2) walls in front of East, until East has taken the last 4 which would give her/him 28 tiles. Player opposite then takes three (3) tiles, which gives him/her 27 tiles.
Players may arrange their tiles on both their racks…as many as desired; and may exchange tiles back and forth between their racks. It does not matter how many tiles are on each rack at any one time. (see Item 8).
East discards the 28th tile to begin the game; picking and discarding proceeds.
Even though the tiles are interchangeable on the racks, players must be cautious to NOT put their exposures on the wrong Rack. A player’s hand should be declared “dead” if the exposures do not match a hand on the NMJL card. The player may continue playing to try to build a 2nd Mah Jongg on the 2nd rack. If player is declared “dead” for two hands, the game ceases, and “dead” player pays opponent 4 times the value of opponent’s existing Mah Jongg, or 4 times the lowest value on the card – whichever is relevant.
Once a Mah Jongg is declared by a player, that rack with the Mahj must hold only 14 tiles.
NOTE: There is no benefit to concealing the fact that you have a Mah Jongg.
You may exchange your own Jokers from your own exposures; but you can NOT exchange a Joker from any existing exposed Mah Jongg hand.
See NATIONAL MAH JONGG TOURNAMENT RULES and MAH JONGG MASTER POINTS RULES for additional information.
SCORING AND PAYOUTS: Payments are made at the END of the game.
YOU ARE PLAYING BOTH RACKS INTERCHANGEABLY
– The 1st Mah Jongg by a player receives the value on the card, regardless if it is self picked .. but if it JOKERLESS, the value is doubled.
Sometimes, if both players have the same score for their 1st Mah Jonggs, e.g., a 25 point hand – then the payment might be a “wash.”
– If a player declares and wins with two (2) Mah Jnggs, the payout for the 2nd Mah Jongg is doubled, regardless if it is self-picked. Payout is doubled again if it is JOKERLESS (excluding singles and pairs).