Types of Mahjong: Exploring Game Varieties

Explore various Types of Mahjong, including Chinese, American, Japanese, Korean, and South African variations, to find your perfect match.
Types of Mahjong

Types of Mahjong have evolved over time, resulting in numerous variations that cater to different preferences and playing styles. This article will explore the various types of Mahjong and their unique rules and equipment. By understanding these different variations, you can choose the one that suits you best.

Chinese Mahjong and its Variants

Chinese Mahjong is the official version of the game, recognized as the 255th sport by the State Sports Commission of China. This version combines the rules of many Chinese versions into a single official game. However, there are other Chinese variants such as Changsha Mahjong, Fujian Mahjong, Harbin Mahjong, Hong Kong Mahjong, Shenyang Mahjong, Sichuan Mahjong, Taiyuan Lisi Mahjong, Taiwanese Mahjong, Tianjin Mahjong, Wuhan Mahjong, and Xiangyang Mahjong.

Each variation has its own unique rules and equipment. Some games use fewer tiles, while others use slightly different tiles. Several versions have complex scoring systems or limit the number of rounds. For example, Classic style Mahjong is the oldest surviving variety of Mahjong and is popular in the West, but few Asians play it. On the other hand, Taiwanese Mahjong features 16-tile hands, bonuses for dealers and recurring dealerships, and multiple players can win from a single discard.

American, Japanese, Korean, Singaporean, and South African Mahjong

American Mahjong is a version of the game that has been standardized by the American Mah Jongg Association and the National Mah Jongg League. It features jokers, the Charleston, and five-tile melds, making it a separate game from the purists’ point of view. Mahjongg and mah-jongg are other variations of the game that have slightly different scoring.

Japanese Mahjong, also known as Riichi, is a standardized version of the game in Japan that can also be found in video games. This variant has unique ready-hand and bonus tiles rules. Korean Mahjong is unique and suited for three players, and the bamboo set is usually omitted. As a result, scores are simpler, and the game is faster.

Singaporean Mahjong is similar to Hong Kong Mahjong, but it features a set of scoring rules that provide payouts after certain conditions are met. South African Mahjong is similar to Cantonese Mahjong, but scores differ slightly, and chicken hands are generally considered value hands.

Three-Player Mahjong

Three-Player Mahjong is a version of the game that uses jokers and involves hands of 13 tiles with 84 tiles on the table. Many rule sets can be adapted for three players, most commonly found in Korea, Japan, Philippines, and Malaysia. Usually, it eliminates one suit or tiles 2–8 in one suit, leaving only the terminals.

Strategy Differences Between Japanese and Chinese Mahjong

There is a vast difference in strategy between Japanese and Chinese Mahjong. Japanese Mahjong has several defenses and depths that make it more feasible to play defensively. A strong, fast hand is the best defense in Chinese Mahjong. In addition, Japanese Mahjong uses Dora tiles, while Chinese Mahjong uses eight flowers, two for each player.

In conclusion, Mahjong is not a simple game, but it can be mastered. It is popular not only in mainland China but also outside its borders. Knowing the differences between the various types of Mahjong will make you an expert, so keep learning. By exploring these different types of Mahjong, you can find the variation that suits your preferences and playing style. So, gather your friends and family and start playing Mahjong today!