The Aim of the Game

The aim of the game is to win the most points, often represented by the special tokens (called tallies). You can play any number of sessions until you decide to finish.

A session consists of:

  • Building a four-sided City wall from the tiles
  • Dealing out a portion of the tiles to each player
  • Assembling the tiles into sets or a special hand by:

Picking a tile from the wall or claiming one discarded by another player
Discarding a tile you no longer want
. . . until a completed hand is obtained
The first player to do this wins the session and cries “Mah-Jong !“.

  • Scoring then exchanging tallies based on who wins and the sets collected

Example hand
The player who was South Wind went Mah-Jong with the following (exposed) hand.
It scored 544 points and South Wind collected 2.176 points in tallies from the other three players.


Number of people

Four people are needed to play the game, though it can be made to work quite well with three.
There are also versions for 2 and 5 people.


General strategy

Winning is helped by skill and knowledge of the game, but there is a large element of luck.

Opinions vary on this, but I think the game is made more interesting and exciting if people aim to achieve a high score in each game, rather than complete a Mah-Jong as quickly as possible. To this end it is better to collect sets of the high scoring tiles (called Major tiles) and to look for combinations which will double your basic score.

Detailed discussion of Mah-Jong strategy


How to play Mah-Jong remotely

Covid-19 needn’t stop you playing Mah-Jong. . Here’s how to do it…

People with their own sets can play in their own homes and connect remotely using Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, etc. 


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