Ch. 5: The Win
First published Monday, April 30, 2007
Winning To win a round, you must have 5 sets. 4 sets must be either Groups (of 3 or 4) or Runs (of 3). The final set must be a Pair. There is no special order that you need to get the sets in, but in Reach Mahjong, you must have at least 1 Hand Point to win on a hand (often shortened to ‘Han’). If you don’t have any hand-points and you try to win anyway, it will cost you money (fouling chapter coming soon)!! So be careful! Need help with Hand Points? Check out In Garthe’s Hands. Once you get your sets and pair and Hand Points all figured out, there are two ways to win, on a Self-Draw or on a River-Discard.
If you draw your winning tile yourself, don’t put the tile in your hand, but show it to everyone first by placing it on the table face-up and then put your hand down. Don’t put the tile in the discard area though; otherwise the others will keep playing and you might miss your win! In Japanese you would say “TSUMO!” if you drew the winning tile yourself. In English people tend to say “MAHJONG!” when they go out on a hand regardless of where it came from. If you’re playing a friendly game, say whatever you want. If you’re in a tournament, check the local rules for what to say. When you draw the tile yourself, everybody must split the points of your hand to pay you. That puts you that much ahead of EVERYONE in the game, so this type of Win is usually advantageous.
A River Win is when you go out on a tile that someone else threw away. This is when your hand is Ready and someone throws away your winning tile. In Japanese you would say “RON!” at this time. Again, in English people tend to say “MAHJONG”. Show your entire hand. Then make the person who threw the tile away give you points. Yay!
The Lucky Dora (Dora)
Look at the King’s Tiles. Remember how we turned one over during the set-up? This is the Dora Indicator. Whichever tile follows this is the Dora. If you use one in your hand, it increases the value!! Each Dora is worth 1 Hand Point. But be carefule, Doras are only good for bonus Hand Points. They DO NOT count towards your minimum Hand Point required to win a hand.
There are a few difficulties in trying to win hands when you first start out. The biggest thing you have to be careful of is the Missed Win (or Lost Hand) rule (this rule is also often referred to as the Sacred Discard). There are 2 ways your hand becomes a Lost Hand and the Missed Win rule comes into effect. If one of your winning tiles is in your discard, you are not allowed to get a River Win at all!!
So let’s say your hand looks like this:
And your own discard pile looks like this:
You were waiting for the 6 or 9 of dots, but look! You have already thrown away your 6-dots! What can you do! The answer is: You are now only allowed to win with a tile that you draw yourself from the Wall. This is one of those special rules that makes Reach Mahjong unique and offers a platform for high-skill play, since players not paying attention can fall to the Missed Win rule very quickly.Remember that the tiles that others have Bumped or Chowed from you also count as your discard pile (that’s why you turn the tile you took sideways depending on who you stole it from). When you Reach, your discard pile extends to the entire River (discard piles) AFTER you Reached. So, if you Miss your winning tile after Reaching, even from someone else’s discard, you cannot win on the River anymore for that hand.
Same Turn Missed Win
There is one more way to fall victim to the Missed Win rule, called the Same Turn Missed Win. When you are not Reached, but your hand is Ready, if someone else throws away your winning tile and you miss it, you have a Lost Hand until after your next turn. Let’s use the same hand example:
This time your 6-dots and 9-dots are NOT in your discard pile, but the person to your Right throws away the 9-dots and you were busy talking on your cell phone. You don’t notice until the person after HIM throws a 6-dots. For 1 second you think about winning on the tile, but just in time you realized that you already Missed your Win for this turn and you will have to wait until AFTER YOUR OWN TURN before you are eligible for a River Win again. If you draw the 9-dots yourself in the same turn, you ARE allowed to win. No problem. This rule keeps (to an extent) people from choosing who they want to pick on for one game.
Now that you know how to play, practice winning LOTS, then check out Chapter 6: The Score for how to score!