End of game strategy

 OVERVIEW:  Giving extra thought to your discardsBeing wary of high-scoring hands ⇒ Being caught with honour tiles you don’t want ⇒ What to do when another player is fishing ⇒ Negative play at the end of a game ⇒ What else can you do if you think you are going to lose?


Giving extra thought to your discards

The tiles you discard near the end of the game may be critical to the success of another player’s MJ. So be especially careful which tiles you choose to discard. Look at the previous discards carefully and at the exposed pungs and kongs. If the tile you want to discard is not on the table and there are few tiles left in the wall, the chances of it being punged are much greater.

If you have an idea of what others are saving then this will help.

Any delay to someone’s MJ will increase the chances of your score improving.


Being wary of high-scoring hands

If someone has a potentially high-scoring hand, be wary of feeding him tiles – especially honour tiles that may give him another double. If you are unlikely to go MJ consider feeding tiles to someone else who has a low-scoring hand.


Being caught with honour tiles you don’t want

If you are not careful, sometimes you can find yourself trapped by an odd honour tile [d] which you have held onto for too long. Too late, you realise that another player is looking to go MJ with it!

It’s a difficult decision, but you need to assess if possessing too many single honour tiles as the end of play approaches is too much of a liability.


What to do when another player is fishing

Look for tiles that may be safe to throw:

  • One that the fishing player has already discarded
  • One that another player has discarded recently
  • One that has already been discarded and there are two or three on the table
  • One which is a different suit to the exposed tiles of the fishing player (assuming a clean hand)
  • A minor tile rather than an honour tile (which might give a double)

See “Interacting with other players – Playing to the person on your left“.

If you have an idea of what that person is collecting you can try to steer clear of tiles you think he needs.

Don’t panic unnecessarily. It can sometimes take a while for the MJ tile to turn up. If you are getting desperate consider seeking a chow, should your tiles allow it.


Negative play at the end of a game

If someone is fishing and your chances of a MJ are fading, then it may be advantageous to play for a draw, ignoring any losses that you might get should your strategy fail. Tiles from pungs in your hand are most unlikely to be wanted, unless the adversary is going for Knitting (which you would probably know about from his discards) or maybe a special hand (which you may have some idea of, especially if he has some exposed pungs/kongs).

Your calculations would need to take account of (a) how many tiles remain in the wall (b) what score you are likely to get (c) how close you think the other players are to a MJ.


What else can you do if you think you are going to lose?

Aim to reduce the amount you are going to lose by. Don’t throw away Dragons (which might double the winner’s score). If there is more than one player fishing, try to play to the person who you think has the lowest score.