The Little Book of Mahjong: Learn How to Play, Score, and Win

The Little Book of Mahjong: Learn How to Play, Score, and Win

by Seth Brown


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Disconnect from a device-oriented world and rediscover the classic Chinese game of mahjong—while improving focus, creativity and stimulating memory—with this comprehensive yet gifty guide that includes all the basics of the game, tips and techniques on how to play, and strategies to win both international mahjong and American mahjong.

The classic game of mahjong was created over 2,000 years ago during the Qing Dynasty in China, but recently, it’s experiencing a renaissance. No longer reserved for older players, mahjong is being rediscovered by millennials and is recognized for its ability to improve brain function, and reduce symptoms of cognitive diseases like dementia.

Learning any new game can be difficult, especially one as complex as mahjong, which includes over dozens of tiles with different meanings. But whether you are a complete novice or a casual player looking to brush up on mahjong skills and techniques, The Little Book of Mahjong can help you get ahead in this classic game, whether you are playing international mahjong or American mahjong.

With a comprehensive breakdown on all of the various tiles involved in the different versions of the game, explanations of what each tile means, detailed information on scoring, tips on how to improve your skills, and strategies for winning, this guide is perfect for mahjong players both new and old. Including a brief history of the game and its significance as well as full-color photos of game pieces and game objectives, you’ll become a mahjong master in no time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781507207390
Publisher: Adams Media
Publication date: 06/26/2018
Series: Little Book of Series
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 189,379
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Seth Brown is a lifelong gamer and writer. He has written gaming strategy articles and reviews for various sites ranging from BestDangGames to He has co-designed and play-tested various independent games, owns over 300 board games, and spends an inordinate amount of time on BoardGameGeek. In the writing world, Seth's award-winning humor column "The Pun Also Rises" has been running for over fifteen years across various newspapers, and currently appears in the Berkshire Eagle. He is a cowriter of two award-winning musicals, the author of five books, and by the time you read this, he is already working on another book about board games. He lives in North Adams, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Introduction 9

Part 1 Overview of Mahjong 11

Chapter 1 The Basics of Mahjong 13

The Origins of Mahjong 14

The Creation of Mahjong 15

Mahjong Meets the World 16

America Standardizes the Rules 20

China Makes It Legal 22

The Different Types of Mahjong 22

Playing by the Table Rules 24

Part 2 International Mahjong 27

Chapter 2 International Mahjong-Tile Guide 29

Suits 29

Honors 31

Bonus Tiles (Flowers and Seasons) 32

Non-Tile Components 33

Chapter 3 International Mahjong-Setup and Gameplay 35

Seating the Dealer 35

Rounds and Prevailing Winds 35

Creating the Wall 37

Distributing the Tiles 39

Replacements 41

Starting the Round 41

On Your Turn 42

Claiming the Discard 44

Declaring Mahjong 46

Scoring the Hand 47

Chapter 4 International Mahjong-Scoring 49

Simple Scoring 49

Casual/Win-or-Lose Scoring 50

International Scoring 51

Scoring a Sample Hand 53

Primary Scoring Fans 54

International Scoring Fans 60

Chapter 5 International Mahjong-Strategy 73

Evaluating Your Opening Hand 73

What Tiles Do You Need? 77

Where Can You Claim the Tiles You Need? 78

How Can You Guarantee Your Point Minimum? 81

Strategy During the Game 87

Don't Meld Too Soon 88

Managing Your Discards 92

Discarding Defensively 94

The 1-4-7 Rule 96

Part 3 American Mahjong 99

Chapter 6 American Mahjong-Tile Guide 101

Suits 101

Winds 102

Dragons 102

Bonus Tiles (Flowers and Seasons) 103

Joker Tiles 104

Non-Tile Components 104

Chapter 7 American Mahjong-Setup 105

Picking the Dealer 105

Creating the Wall 106

Distributing the Tiles 107

Chapter 8 American Mahjong-The Charleston 110

First Charleston 110

Second Charleston 111

The Courtesy Pass 112

Summing Up the Charleston 112

Chapter 9 American Mahjong-Rules 113

Starting the Round 113

On Your Turn 114

Claiming the Discard 115

Declaring Mahjong 116

Scoring the Hand 117

Chapter 10 American Mahjong-Reading the Scorecard 119

Categories 119

Decoding the Hands 120

Colors 121

Chapter 11 American Mahjong-Strategy 123

Choosing a Hand 123

Arranging Your Hand 123

Finding Your Category 125

The Charleston 132

Chapter 12 American Mahjong-Strategy During the Game 139

Reasons to Wait on Melding 139

Managing Your Discards in the Early Game 142

Unwanted Pairs and Jokers 143

Defensive Discarding Late in the Game 144

What Is a Safe Discard? 145

Part 4 More About Mahjong 149

Chapter 13 Variants Around the World 151

Hong Kong Old Style 151

Chinese Classical 153

Riichi (Japanese) 154

Zung Jung 155

Other Regional Styles 156

Mahjong Solitaire 158

Appendix A FAQ 159

Appendix B Glossary 166

Bibliography and Resource List 172

Index 173

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