Tactics

The aim of this section is to give some hints on the tactics that are involved in playing Mah Jongg - remember these are guidelines only and the Game can be played with varying degrees of difficulty applied.

Some Guidelines

Aim to play as quickly as possible - initially this may not be possible as you learn how to play the Game, but in time you will soon come to see just how fast Mah Jongg can be played - it's more exciting this way.

Aim to collect tiles that are going to give you doubles.

When the player to the right or opposite of you discards a tile, then you cannot pick this tile up for a Chow. The tile is therefore only of interest to you for a possible Pung, Kong or Mah Jongg.

When the player to the left of you discards a tile, then you can pick up this tile for either a Chow, Pung, Kong or Mah Jongg.

A difficult decision has to be made when you have on your stake two pairs of identical tiles of the same suit and the player to the left of you discards a tile which you could use to Chow with both a tile from each of the pairs. The decision you take must depend on the circumstances and the plans you have already decided upon for the hand. For example, it would be a good idea to remember what tiles have already gone out and base your decision on this.

You should always try to be aware of what the other players are collecting. The object of the Game is obviously to complete your hand but at the same time you have to prevent other players from doing just this!

Keep your eye on the tile that is being discarded if you miss your chance to pick this tile up then tough - the Game keeps going and you may have to alter the strategy you have for the tiles in your hand.

It's not a good idea to discard Winds, Dragons or the 1 and 9 tiles of the suits early in a Game. These tiles score high points and are therefore usually sought after by most players.

Thought should always be given before discarding a tile that is the Wind of the Round or one's own Wind. Likewise it's often worth keeping a single Dragon tile in your hand or your own Wind tile in the hope of picking up another later, to score a pair or possibly a Pung and give yourself some double points.

Alternatively, you might want to discard single Winds or Dragons early during a Hand. The sooner these are discarded, the smaller the chance that one of the other players can complete a Pung or Kong with it.

Sometimes you can benefit from sacrificing a Concealed Pung in order to complete your Hand.

It is better to try to go Mah Jongg on a small score rather than hanging on to a few high scoring combinations and letting someone else go Mah Jongg first.

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