The New Card Arrives and then What?

If you follow FaceBook and all the many Mah Jongg blogs including our own, there is an excitement over the release of the NMJL 2015 card.  I play in two regular groups and even the talk over the tables has been about which hands will be left off and which hands will change.  Which hands will be added and which will remain the same?  So I got to thinking about what do we do when the new card arrives? How do you get yourself ready to play with the new card?

I thought about what I do and I asked the more seasoned players I know what they do as well. One wise woman said the very first thing she does is she puts her name on the card!

Another veteran of the tiles wrote “the first thing I do is compare this year vs last year to see small changes in hands that can trick you and to see which of my “go to” hands are missing. Then I look for new hands I would tend to play. I don’t memorize the card or try to but do use new hands first if possible when playing so I remember them. The hand I would like to see come back is the NEWS with dragons hand.”  From CD in New Jersey

Yet another wrote “I always look to see what’s changed. I read every hand. To me it seems only 25-30% changes. Many are still there but with slight alterations, like (consecutives) 1-5 and 5-9 and they just change where the pairs are. We’re always curious how they’re going to make the 2014 to 2015 hands. I go over the hands thoroughly again right before the first time playing with my group. I don’t worry much at first about quints & jokerless.”  From CB in Connecticut.

A teacher of the game wrote “I look to see what hands stayed the same. I look for NEWS hands – we all miss them so much. I look for exposures that can ONLY be for one hand on the card.  For example:

2014: the 3 Soaps had to be the second hand on the card

2013: the 3 Wests had to be the first hand on the card.

I study the change to the Quints.  I look at the Singles/Pairs and try to figure out what other hands they easily convert to in case they go dead.

I read the fine print to see if there are any weird issues like (2 or 3 hands) or (Any/Anywhere they could show it with matching or not-matching dragons (like the third hand in the 2014 Quints).

I make sure I know which hands are Concealed so I don’t expose.” From AM in Massachusetts.

I found all these ideas and actions to be right in the same wavelength of what I myself do.  I do put my name on my card almost right away, I do look at the hands and study the card to see how the hands have changed. This year I will be looking closely to see if there are more hands with winds and will those NEWS hands come back. I will be looking to see how the 2015 hands will set up. How will the winds figure in with 2015 or what about dragons? And will there be more dragon hands?  I will look to see if the like numbers are present and how it is broken down. What about the addition hands? Will it be adding up to what? I will focus on which hands are concealed and which are open so I do not make a mistake exposing something that should not be.  I will examine all the consecutive numbers section because we know that there is going to be a couple of changes in those hands – there always is.

Lastly I will compare the other sections to see how they have changed and to become familiar with some of the hands.  There will always be a 2468, 13579 and 369 section so then it is a matter of seeing how they change.  The singles and pairs are always a challenge and I will look to see just as AM mentioned, if I start with one of them can I adapt to something more open?  And then I will start to play and play and play!  And then next year at this time we will go through this all again!  Meanwhile keep an eye on for those new 2015 videos coming soon!