A little tired of reading about hands that you can only dream about? Well before we finish our tour of Fantasy Island (That would be the group of Limit Hands), how about if we return to a hand you’ll see almost every other hand or so, Peace. There’s a disturbing lack of it in the world today. But at least we can click our tiles together and make a little of it at the Mahjong table. It’s second only to Reach and maybe Value tiles, at least in my statistics, so it’s definitely something to think about working into your game.
To review, Peace is one of the simplest hands with the most complications. At its simplest, it’s just a hand made up of 4 runs and a pair. Then there are the requirements. First remember that the head must not be value tiles. So the dragons will never be part of a Peace hand, and you also won’t be able to use the Prevailing Wind tile or your current seat Wind. Next, your wait must be to complete a run and it must be open ended. That means that 12 waiting for the 3, or 57 waiting for the 6 would be unacceptable whereas 23 waiting for the 1 or 4 would be OK; also, a wait such as 5543 waiting for the 5 or 2 would be OK even though you might think of the 543 run as already being complete if another 5 came. In fact, 5554 waiting for the 3, 4 or 6 would also be OK for Peace as long as the tile that completed the hand was the 3 or 6 so it completes the final run. Similary 3456 waiting for the 3 or 6 would NOT be acceptable because the final tile is not completing a run; it’s completing the head.
Why these inane complications for a concept so simple you may ask? Well Jenn just revealed the answer to this mystery to me last week! Peace is the only hand in Reach Mahjong worth 20 base points. Alright, the thing is, EVERY hand in this game is worth 20 base points, but every other hand will get some base points added on for triples, bad waits, or using value tiles in the head. Requiring the hand to have no value tiles, a good wait, and the fact that there are no triples means that there will be no extra base points (except of course for Self Draw. This does seem like a point that some nit picker some where would have said precludes Peace from being self-drawn. The Japanese are nothing if not rule adherers. Any comment on this exception Jenn?) So lest you think these are just arbitrary obfuscations designed to confuse the newbies, think again!! I don’t doubt Mahjong’s desire to confuse the newbies, but there is some reason to the madness.
On to the next subject, putting your Peace hand together. There are a only a million and one combinations that could become your next Peace hand, but let’s look at a situation that has come up a lot recently in my hands and that I used to play differently. Let’s say I’m one away from ready with a hand like this:
and I draw the 4 of grands; what should I do? I think my first inclination a few years ago I think was to throw the 7 so I now have the two open-ended waits. This is the best option for giving me the most possible tiles to make my hand ready. Any of the 3456 of Grands or the 2345 of Bamboos all make my hand ready. There are certainly situations where this would be the best way to go, for example close to the end of a hand where I just want to get my hand to ready but I’m not necessarily going for the win. The problem is that 16 of the 28 tiles that make me ready complete a run and force me to discard a tile from the unfinished run; I’ll be waiting for a single tile to complete my head and that’s NOT Peaceful! But there is another way. I can now switch horses in midstream and make the two 7 grands my head and still have the two open-ended waits. I do lose the possibility of being ready on 12 tiles, but in exchange, I have the guarantee that I will at least have Peace in my hand if I draw something that makes me ready. In this situation, it also gives me a better chance of getting Simples too if draw the 6 of dots and exchange it with the 9. This dilemma comes up surprisingly often, fastest-to-ready versus good-wait, and always makes for spirited arguments between me and Jenn.
Instead of scoring examples, let’s look at some hands and see if we can get some people’s opinions on what they might discard if they were in the given situations. There won’t always be clearly right answers here so maybe add a little explanation for why you chose that tile to discard and then we can all call each other crazy appropriately.
Lucky Dragon: 1-Bamboos
We have the most points. It’s the 6th draw of the hand
Lucky Dragon: 8-Grands
Our turn as dealer on the 5th draw of the hand
Lucky Dragon: North-Wind
3000 points out of 1st place on the 12th draw of the hand
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