INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
Is a game that originated in China, commonly played by four players (with some three-player variations found in Korea and Japan). The four player table version should not be confused with the popular western single player (tile matching) computer game (Mahjong solitaire) which is a recent invention and completely different from the table game. Mahjong is a game of skill, strategy and calculation and involves a certain degree of chance. In Asia, mahjong is also popularly played as a gambling game (though it may just as easily be played recreationally). The game is played with a set of 152 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols, although some regional variations use a different number of tiles. In most variations, each player begins by receiving thirteen tiles. In turn players draw and discard tiles until they complete a legal hand using the fourteenth drawn tile to form four groups (melds) and a pair (head). There are fairly standard rules about how a piece is drawn, stolen from another player (melded), the use of basic (numbered tiles) and honours (winds and dragons), the kinds of melds, and the order of dealing and play. However there are many regional variations in the rules; in addition, the scoring system, the minimum hand necessary to win varies significantly based on the local rules being used. One of the myths of the origin of mahjong suggests that Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, developed the game in about 500 BC.The three dragon (cardinal) tiles also agree with the three cardinal virtues bequeathed by Confucius. Hóng Zhōng (紅中 , red middle), Fā Cái (發財 , prosperity), and Bái Ban (白板 , white board) represent benevolence, sincerity, and filial piety, respectively. The myth also claims that Confucius was fond of birds, which would explain the name "mahjong" (maque 麻雀 = sparrow). Today, the popularity and the characteristics of players of mahjong vary from country to country. There are also many governing bodies, which often host exhibition games and tournaments. It remains far more popular in Asia than in the West.
Hong Kong Mahjong is played with a set of mahjong tiles (though cards may be used). Sets often include counters (to keep score), dice (to decide how to deal) and a marker to show who is dealer and which round is being played. Some sets include racks to hold tiles (if they are shaped small or differently).A set of mahjong tiles will usually differ from place to place. It usually has at least 136 tiles (most commonly 144), although sets originating from America or Japan will have more. Mahjong tiles are split into these categories: suits, honor, and flowers. Simples
There are three different simple suits numbered 1 to 9. They are bamboo, circles (or dots) and characters (or myriads).
Circles or Dots numbered 1 to 9.
Characters numbered 1 to 9.
Bamboos numbered 1 to 9.
The circles, characters and bamboos are called simple tiles and they are numbered 1 to 9. In some variations only tiles 1 and 9 are used in the bamboo suit. There are four matching tiles for each value (e.g. there are four Dots tiles with the number 2). Honours
There are two different honour suits: the winds and the dragons. The winds are east, south, west and north, and the dragons are Red, Green and White. They have no numerical sequence and there are four tiles of each honour (e.g. four Red Dragon tiles).
The East, South, West and North
The Red, Green and White Dragon
There are eight bonus tiles: four flowers and four seasons. The flowers are plum, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo, and the seasons are spring, summer, autumn and winter. The four flowers (there is only one of each)
The four seasons (there is only one of each)
Choosing the first dealing and taking positions at the table The dealer is chosen by various means, either by throwing dice (the highest total takes the east wind) or placing one of each wind face...
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