Thursday session: Mahjong

We met yesterday for a session of Mahjong using the Chinese Official rules. Since the skill level in our table was very low — some Mahjong experience, but no COIR experience — we didn’t use the minimum point rule, which is a pain if you don’t know the scoring elements well.

It was a fun game and reminded me of why Mahjong is such a good game. We played at a pretty good speed, too — we had three hours and we managed to play 10 deals. Not bad, though by competition standards you should be able to run the whole 16-deal game in 2, 5 hours. Obviously that’s going to take some experience! But we had few rather swift hands there and overall I was pretty happy with the pace of the game. Mahjong can drag, if players aren’t paying attention, and that’s painful.

Most of our hands were pretty awful, typically 5-8 points, including flowers. I think we had just two or three winning hands over the eight-point minimum. The best hand of the evening was my Greater honours and knitted tiles for over 25 points. That was sweet, and a beautiful hand too (one of each dragons and winds, then seven tiles from knitted series, that is 1-4-7 in one suit, 2-5-8 in other and 3-6-9 in the third). I was a nervous wreck, though, because I got the hand ready quite soon and waited for the last tile, anxious to go out before someone finishes a cheap hand.

Thanks to that big hand, I won. The won hands went 3-3-3-1, and Riku who got just one lost. I discarded at least four winning tiles, but since we had such a cheap hands, that didn’t really hurt.

I’ve been contemplating another set of tiles. That’s madness, because the last time I played Mahjong was in 2004, so it’s not like my current set is getting too much action. It’s just that I’ve been looking at the Mahjong set auction page at Board Game auctions too much… I’m a bit wary about ordering from the Chinese sellers in eBay, though — probably it’s fine, but if there are any problems, solving them is going to be tricky.

Besides, I’d like to have something like this black Japanese Riichi set. It’s rather expensive, about 80 euros shipped to Finland (and possibly 22% VAT, too), but then again, that’s about the same or even slightly less than what a basic set costs in Finland.

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