16 Tiles Mahjong

Platform: Sega GenesisGenesis

Genre: Board Games

See also: Mahjong Games

Introduction

The true origin of mahjong is unknown, there are however many myths of its development, most of which have been created with the purpose of impressing potential customers and players. One story suggests that mahjong was played on Noah's Ark. This would date the game to over 4000 years old. It is now believed that the game was developed in the mid 1800s because there is no evidence of the game before that time. The actual conception of the game, however, is still uncertain.

Creation of Mahjong

Although tile games have been found in China since 1120, mahjong bears a closer resemblance to a number of card games that were being played. One of the games, called "Ma Tiae" or hanging horse was played with a deck of 40 paper cards. There were four different suits numbered 1 to 9 and four flower cards. The most popular theory states that mahjong was developed from this game in Ningpo around 1850. It is believed that two brothers recreated the deck on tiles of ivory and bamboo and created mahjong

Expansion of Mahjong

Mahjong quickly spread to the rest of the world reaching Japan in 1907 and landing in the United States in the 1920s. Because there were no official rules for the game, mahjong experienced a number of changes in how it was played as its popularity increased. In Japan two main changes were made. First, the game became a race to make mahjong, rather than building points over a number of hands. Second, there were no points for second place. Only the winner of the hand received payment from the other three players.

When mahjong came to the United States, those importing it simplified the rules, removing many of the minor details. Mahjong became popular very quickly, but many people felt the game could be improved. New rules were added and a number of special hands were created that allowed a player to get mahjong. The new additions to the game created a great deal of confusion in the United States; as a result, in 1935 The National Mahjong League Inc published the official American rules. So many changes were added to the game by this time that it was viewed by most as an entirely new game.

Mahjong Today

Today mahjong is played by millions of people all over the world and is regaining in popularity in the United States. A number of computer solitaire games were created using mahjong tiles in the 80s followed shortly by four player versions. There are now many sites on the Internet where a more traditional version can be played against real players all over the world.

Mahjong is a Chinese gambling game developed in the mid-1800s. The game is played with a set of 136 or 144 tiles. The basic rules of the traditional game are similar to those of rummy. The players try to make a hand with three- or four-of-a-kind, or runs in the same suit. Hands consist of 13 or 16 tiles.

Mahjong Overview

Mahjong is a Chinese gambling game developed in the mid-1800s. The game is played with a set of 136 or 144 tiles. The basic rules of the traditional game are similar to those of rummy. The players try to make a hand with three- or four-of-a-kind, or runs in the same suit. Hands consist of 13 or 16 tiles.

The Tiles

Suits The majority of the tiles are divided into three different suits: Dots (Tung), Bamboos (Taio) and Characters (Wan). Each of the three suits run from one to nine with four tiles for each number.

Winds There are also tiles for the Winds. (East, South, West, North). There are four tiles for each Wind.

Dragons There are three Dragons (Red, Green,White). Again there are four tiles for each Dragon.

Flowers and Seasons Mahjong can be played with the addition of eight more tiles; four Seasons and four Flowers. Flowers and Seasons are only used for bonus in the score. They are not part of the hand.

Honors Winds and Dragons are called Honors collectively.

Set up

The players start the game by rolling dice to designate the winds to each player. The player with the highest roll becomes the East Wind, with South to his right and North to his left. The tiles are then placed facedown on the table and mixed. Each player creates a wall with tiles, 2 tiles high . The walls are placed on the table to form a square.

To create the hands, the current East throws the dice to determine where to break the wall to draw tiles. Each player draws 4 tiles in turn from the wall until each player has 12 tiles and then the East draws two more tiles while other players draw one. If the game is being played with 16 tiles each player takes four tiles at a time until they each have 16 tiles and East picks up one more tile.

Game Play

Play begins with East discarding a tile. Then moving counter-clockwise, the players take turns drawing a tile from the break, working clockwise on the wall. After a tile has been drawn, one must be discarded in to the middle of the walls face-up. The game continues until someone gets a winning hand. A winning hand consists of four or five sets and a pair. The sets can be of triples ( Pong ) , quadruples ( Kong ), or runs of the same suit ( Chow ). In some variations, there are a number of special hands that can win the game.

The tiles that are discarded may be picked up immediately by another player rather than drawing from the wall. The tile may only be picked up if it completes a set or game for the player. Only the player to the right of the person discarding the tile can use the discarded tile to form a Chow. Pong and Kong take precedence over Chow. The player calls "kong" and picks an extra tile from the opposite end of the wall in order to even out his hand. The set created by picking up the discarded tile is laid down face-up and a tile is discarded. Play then continues to the right. If a player can win with a discarded tile the player calls "mahjong". Mahjong takes precedence over the pong, chow or kong of another player.

After picking a tile, the player can convert a Pong into a Kong by an identical tile from his hand. Other players can rob the tile to complete a hand. The player can also reveal a concealed Kong from his hand; other players can rob one of the tiles of the concealed Kong to complete a hand of 13 Wonders and 13 Wonders only. If there is no one robbing the Kong, the player can then draw a replacement tile from the end of the wall.

When a player draws a season or flower, it is revealed and set along side the player's hand. The player then picks a tile from the opposite end of the wall to replace it and the game continues. The seasons and flowers are used at the end of the game as bonuses.

End of Game

The hand ends when one of the players completes the hand or no one completes the hand when all tiles in the wall except the dead tiles are used.

There are many scoring systems and payment methods among different variations.

In a live game, players are required to play a pre-determined number of rounds, usually in increments of four.

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