Ch. 4: The Play
First published Saturday, March 31, 2007
The basic play of almost all types of Mahjong follows these procedures. This is how you get your tiles, make your hands and ultimately, hurt your enemies.
Start It Up:
The dealer draws (tsumo) one tile, giving him 14 in his hand. Since a hand in play only contains 13 tiles, the dealer must discard one tile. Remember, if you used the chan-chan time-saving tip, then the starting dealer will NOT draw a tile for his/her first turn.
Keep it GoingAfter the dealer takes his/her turn, the person in the South Seat takes his turn, then the person in the West seat takes her turn and finally the North Seat takes his turn. Then East takes their next turn and so on. In other words, the play moves counter-clockwise. One turn consists of 2 actions: taking a tile and discarding a tile. Tiles may be taken in 3 ways. The goal of these actions is to complete sets for your hand as described in “The Goal”. If you forgot already, take another look.
Now for the 3 ways to advance your hand:
The player may draw a tile from the Mountain. The player may only draw the NEXT available tile in the mountain; it is not acceptable to draw from anywhere else.
The player may take the tile that was discarded directly before their turn by saying “Chow” or “Chi”. This is only acceptable if the tile completes a Run.
Tiles you can Chow:
(may chow 3-bams)
(may chow 5-dots)
(may chow 6 or 9-cracks
The player may take a tile from any other player by saying “pung” or “Pon”. This is only acceptable if the tile completes a Trip (three of a kind). You must have 2 identical tiles already in your hand if you want to “pung” from somebody else. Also, you must say “pung” right when the tile comes out. Don”t wait for your turn or it will be too late!! (pung is also known as “Pung” or “Pon”).
Tiles you can pung:
(may pung 9-bams)
(may pung South Wind)
(may pung 5-cracks)
After taking a tile any of these 3 ways, you must discard 1 tile. Discarded tiles should be lined up from left to right in the order that they were discarded in. The play continues to the player”s right, no matter where they got the tile from.
QuaddingAn exception is taking a tile for a Quad. If you have a Group of 3 (Trips) and someone throws the 4th, you have the option of saying “Quad” or “Kong” and taking the tile.
Tiles you can Quad
(may Quad 1-cracks)
(may Quad 7-bams)
(may Quad West Wind
(may Quad Red Dragon
1. Special Quad Rules:Because you will be using 4 tiles in one set, one of your other sets will be short-handed and you need to take a supplementary tile. Remember the Dead wall? The King”s tiles? Take the last tile from there. Don”t worry, we”ll still leave 14 tiles there at the end and the King won”t notice a thing. Now make your discard. With one Quad your final hand will now have 15 tiles instead of 14 because of the extra King”s tile. Only 4 quads are allowed between all players in each hand.
2. Concealed Quad: What if you want to make a Quad and you drew all of the tiles yourself?? Can you still Quad it? Of course!! If it is your turn and you have 4 of a kind, you can say “Quad”, show everyone those 4 tiles and take a supplementary tile from the King”s Tiles. Then discard. It”s that easy!! This is called a Concealed Quad. It is not acceptable to do this directly after you punged or Chowed though, it is only acceptable after you draw one tile from the mountain. It doesn”t matter if the tile you drew is part of your Quad or not.
3. Add-a-Quad: What if you punged a tile from another player to make your trips and after that you draw the same tile? Can you Quad it then? YES! Just add that tile to your punged Trips and take your King”s tile before discarding. It”s that easy!
Show Your Stuff:
If you call a Chow or pung or Quad, you need to keep these tiles showing for the rest of the game. Here”s how:Chows Line up the 2 tiles from your hand and place the tile you took on the left side of these but facing perpendicular. This is because you took the tile from the person on your left (the ONLY person you”re allowed to chow from) so you need to point it to them.
Place 1 tile perpendicular to the other 2 depending on who you took the tile from. If you took it from the person to your left, place it on the left, from the person across from you, put it in the middle, from the person on your right, place it on the right.
Quads Same as Pung
I know, there is no ONE middle one, so how do you show you took the 4th tile from the person across from you? Just pick one! If you like the left-middle one or the right-middle one better, flip that one. If you have a concealed Quad, don”t place any of the tiles perpendicular, but you still need to show everyone that you have 4 of a kind. Two tiles should be facing down and 2 should be facing up to show that it is concealed. I”ll let you choose which ones are facing down, but here are some popular examples. Remember to show everyone ALL FOUR of your tiles BEFORE turning them over.
Put all of your stolen tiles against the right side of the table and leave them there until the hand is over. Remember, you can only “call” (steal) 4 times
Now that you”re hand is on it”s way to the goal, read Chapter 5: The Win to figure out how to beat down your foes!!