How Do You Play Mah-Jong?


Quick Answer

Mahjong is played by matching pairs of tiles. The game typically contains four sets of each suit, and the player needs to make as many matches of two tiles as possible.

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Full Answer

The traditional game of mahjong has 136 tiles in all, including 36 total characters, 36 circle designs and 36 bamboo tiles. Included in the tiles are 12 dragon tiles and 16 wind tiles. Some variations of the game have additional tiles, such as four seasons and four flowers. When the game is played with actual tiles, a pair of dice is needed to figure out the deal. The game can also be played digitally with one or multiple players.

The traditional game of mahjong is over when players reach a desired number of points or complete 16 rounds. The goal in mahjong is to get 14 tiles into one pair and four sets. Two identical tiles forms a pair. A set is either three consecutive numbers in the same suit or three identical tiles. No single tile can be used in more than one set.

The tiles are set up with wind tiles facing down and shuffled to the players. Rolling dice is the more modern way of determining the dealer. Tiles are shuffled, then each player starts to build a wall of tiles face-down, typically two tiles high and 17 tiles long.

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