Mah Jongg Around          the World

While most of us play American Mah Jongg, did you know that there are about two dozen variations of the game?  Read about all the different types. How many have you played?

Chinese classical mahjong– the oldest variety of mahjong and was the version introduced to America in the 1920s under various names. It has a loyal following in the West, although few play it in Asia.
Hong Kong or Cantonese mahjong– the most common form of mahjong, differing in minor scoring details from the Chinese Classical variety.
Competition Mahjong– an international standard that some mahjong societies have adopted for competition play and in some cases for all play.
Sichuan mahjong– a growing variety, particularly in southern China, disallowing chi melds, and using only the suited tiles. It can be played very quickly.
Tianjin mahjong– normally uses 7 jokers, with special scoring such as joker-free,joker-waiting-paircatch-5dragonjoker-suited-dragon.
Shenyang mahjong– using 13 hands in a game, and is played at a really fast speed, which is matching the personality of the North-East people in China. Also, the player must have Bamboos, Characters, Circles and number one or nine in his hand, and the players have to Pong before they Chow, so there is no chance to win even if some players win at the first time they have their hands in hand.
Taiwanese mahjong– hands have 16 tiles (as opposed to the 13-tile hands in other versions), features bonuses for dealers and recurring dealerships, and allows multiple players to win from a single discard.
Fujian mahjong- with a Dàidì joker 帶弟百搭.
Shanxi mahjongor Lisi (Raise Four; zh:太原立四麻将), the players must win with the first four blocks drawn which are placed separately in front of each other. These four blocks cannot be touched until the player has a ready hand.
Guobiao Majiang a rule of Mahjong founded by All-China Sports Federation in July 1998.
Japanese mahjong– a standardized form of mahjong in Japan and is also found prevalently in video games. In addition to scoring changes, the rules of rīchi (ready hand) and dora (bonus tiles) are unique highlights of this variant.
Western classical mahjong a descendant of the mahjong introduced by Babcock to America in the 1920s. Today, this term largely refers to the “Wright-Patterson” rules, used in the U.S. military, and other similar American-made variants that are closer to the Babcock rules.
Singaporean mahjong– similar to the Cantonese mahjong played in Malaysia. The four animal tiles (cat, mouse, cockerel, and centipede) are unique, as well as certain alternatives in the scoring rules, which allow payouts midway through the game if certain conditions (such as a kang) are met.
South African mahjong– a variant of Cantonese mahjong.It is very similar in terms of game play and follows most of the rules and regulations of Cantonese mahjong, with some minor differences in scoring, such as the maximum points a hand can be rewarded is 3 or 4 fan depending on the house rules. A chicken hand (gai wu) is normally considered a value hand. Depending on the house rules, flowers may also be used to boost scoring.
Vietnamese mạt chược– with 16 different kinds of jokers, for a total of 160 tiles. Modern variant includes more jokers for a total of 176 tiles.
Thai mahjong– includes the older Vietnamese tiles with another eight, for a total of 168 tiles.
Filipino mahjong– with the Window Joker
Korean mahjong is unique in many ways and is an excellent version for three players. One suit is omitted completely (usually the Bamboo set or 2-8 of bamboo) as well as the seasons. The scoring is simpler and the play is faster. No melded chows are allowed and concealed hands are common. Riichi (much like its Japanese cousin) is an integral part of the game as well.
Australian Mahjong- stems from the traditional Hong Kong Mahjong style.
British Mahjong– the aim is to achieve a high score in each session, not necessarily the most Mahjongs.
Pussers bones- a fast-moving variant developed by sailors in the Royal Australian Navy. It uses an alternative vocabulary, such as Eddie,  SammyWally, and Normie, instead of EastSouthWest, and North.
Three player mahjong (or three-ka)- a simplified three-person version that involves hands of 13 tiles (with a total of 84 tiles on the table) and may use jokers depending on the variation. Any rule set can be adapted for three players; mostly  accepted in Japan, Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. It usually eliminates one suit entirely, or tiles 2-8 in one suit, leaving only the terminals.
Mah Jongg Card Game by Winning Moves- a card game based on the basic Mah Jongg game.
Honeymoon Mah Jongg or Messy Mah Jongg same as American but there are 2 racks and no walls built, thus the tiles are scattered in the middle of the table.
Duplicate Mah Jongg– just like bridge, the walls are set up exactly the same manually at 4 different tables that play simultaneously.
Siamese Mah Jongg– a current spinoff of the Honeymoon version with improved rules to suit two players. Walls are used and there in no Charleston.This information originally appeared in the Destination Mah Jongg Newsletter in May.                               Many thanks to Sheryl Perry for allowing us to share it with you.