How to Play Mahjong

Video transcription

Hi, my name is Windy and this is an introduction to Mahjong. Mahjong is a tile game from China, it means the sparrows. It is based on a mythical idea of China where the four winds blow across the country and off the mountains. It involves the four winds, the three dragons who live in the elements, the four seasons which change how much you; how many points you get when you're betting during certain configurations of the tile game. The tile game is not the same as the game that you've learned to play on the computer which is simple tile matching game. This is a bidding game that has trumps and straights so it's much more like bridge. Mahjong usually is tiles that are made to look like ivory although ivory isn't aloud in America so it's usually a high quality plastic polymer backed by either more polymer or bamboo. This set here is bone and bamboo with a silk binding. There are American sets and there, there are traditional Chinese sets. Most of what you find in America is an American set. And the jokers are used which isn't traditional to the game but American rules always use a joker which is clearly marked in English. They also have the four winds and the numbers marked in English as well as in Chinese characters. The tiles are divided amongst bamboos, circles, characters, the winds, the four winds, the four directions, the four seasons and the three dragons. They also include money tiles which is a complicated form of betting although some Americans just get rid of that and do dice instead. People sit on a square table, traditionally you can play three but it, it's bad luck. You're supposed to play four. When you sit down you; everyone gets seventeen tiles that they wind up in front of them. And then they take one of these chips which indicates the four directions and they sit according to the direction of the chip and their partner is the one who is facing them. It's a complicated bidding game. The rules for league play change every year. According to the mythical change of the winds over China and they put out a little booklet here. So if you know someone who plays Mahjong, they like to get these new booklets that often come out in the fall. It tells you different rules for point combinations, the point combinations change according to season. And betting changes according to season. It's determined by a complicated formula not, not the actual winds. You can get simple sets from thirty dollars all the way up to expensive two hundred dollar sets that are made out of bone and ivory. And that's my introduction to Mahjong.

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