Mahjong: The Perfect Game for Family & Friends of Four
I was in high school during my first interaction with the tile board game mahjong. My friend from China had an annual summer barbecue, where his family would mix traditional Chinese dishes with traditional American hot dogs, and spend the afternoon playing mahjong. This family played often, and the father had weekly gambling nights with his friends. It was fun to see the parents, who had been playing much longer than their two teenage children, tease and joke around.
My friend's grandmother was my favorite player... and she didn't even play! She often would join us when there was a heated game of mahjong, and walk around the table speaking only Chinese, pointing and telling everyone what to do. Whenever she came to my seat, I would look around hoping for someone to translate, and instead I was only met with smirks from the other players. Grandma was feisty, and you better believe she knew what she was doing!
If you enjoy strategic cards games, you will easily pick up this game perfect for a family of four and friend groups of four. Whenever I teach new players, I explain that it is similar to the card game rummy, and that usually sets those unfamiliar with the Chinese characters at ease. The game includes three suits and a couple other category of tiles. These "suits" (circles, bamboos, and characters) are paired in runs or sets of three.
When I went to college, I bought my own set of mahjong online and had it shipped to my dorm room. I taught many of my friends to play; there became an obsession with playing. It's very satisfying getting a group of people who enjoy playing, because you need to be quick on your feet to claim a tile and you never know what strategy people are using!
Below is a photo set of pictures I have taken of my mahjong set. I will use these pictures to explain some of the set up and rules. Next up: get your own mahjong set and start the party!
If you would like your mahjong set to include the numbers in the corner, this is the set for you.
Think you would have a better time with cards over tiles? Here you go!