Da Zhi Senior High School Taipei, Taiwan Ms. Debbie Li Mahjong 麻將
- Mahjong is a strategy game - The basic goal is to find outa specific card type and prevent opponents fromachievingthe same purpose. - Playing mahjong should focus on skills, strategiesand calculations, but also involves luck.
According to the “Game History”（written by Fengming Cai），the following are two versions of origins of Mahjong : • 1. It originated in “Six Bo.” of the Qin dynasty. Both players have six chess pieces,including six blackand six red,along with six dice，so it is called "six-Bo.“
2. There is another saying that it is derived from a sign hanging on horses. In the Chinese novel’ Golden Lotus’，it has a statement about fighting for hanging on horses. The amount of the signs is 40，and it has four kinds of patterns
It was a period that mahjong was popular. • The design of it is related to a man whose name is萬秉迢 （wàn tong tiao）.He liked the Chinese novel “All Men Are Brothers”very much，so he defined new meanings to 108 tiles just as 108 heros written in the novel.
The tiles Winds(Winter，Spring，Summer，Fall) come from the story that 108 heros went to the same place in all directions. • Andthe patternsof mahjong included Characters (萬)、Stones (筒)、Bamboos (條),which derived from his name wànbing Tiao（萬秉迢)
Some of 108 heros are poor，and some are wealthy, so (發）and（白) in Dragons imply rich and poor respectively. Afterwards，the tiles of flowers and seasons are added in. • This is the development of mahjong nowadays. Total tiles amount to 144.
Patterns and Meanings of Mahjong
Each game set contains: • three ‘simple’ suits (stones, characters, and bamboos) • two ‘ honor ’ suits (winds and dragons) • two optional suits（flowers and seasons）
Stones (also called wheels or circles) • These tiles feature one to nine round shapes on each tile (similar to the face of a dice). The round shapes represent a 筒 (tóng), a coin with a square hole in the middle.
Characters (also called numbers, thousands or coins) • These tiles have pattern 萬 (wàn), which means 10,000， along with the Chinese numbers from one to nine.
Bamboos (also called sticks) • These tiles have bamboos which represent the strings (條) that ancient copper coins were strung in sets of 100 (弔) or 1,000 coins (貫).
But the number‘one’ does not have bamboo on it. Instead, it has a bird sitting on a bamboo, so this set is sometimes also called ‘bird.’
Flowers and seasons • This set of eight tiles featuring pictures of flowers is optional suit. • Flowers can also help players earn extra points.
The eight tiles include four tiles representing the four seasons: winter ，spring，summer and fall • The other four tiles represent the four plants: bamboo(竹), chrysanthemum (菊), orchid (蘭花), and plum (梅)
Winds • Each of the tiles features different directions: East Wind (東)， South Wind(南), West Wind(西), and North Wind(北).
Dragons • This threesome has several meanings which are derived from the ancient imperial exam, archery, and Confucius’ cardinal virtues.
Difference between Western Poker and Mahjong
Different types of Mahjong
China-Guangdong • Guangdong Mahjong(13 tiles) • Guangdong Mahjong with 13 tiles is the earliest and the most popular one.
Its basic rules are similar to Taiwan Mahjong with 16 tiles，but it has more variation . Therefore，it becomes more exciting. • When playing Mahjong with 13 tiles,we need two dice.
Taiwan • Taiwan Mahjong( 16 tiles) • Taiwan mahjong with 16 tiles is adapted from Guangdong’s 13 tiles Mahjong. When playing Mahjong with 16 tiles,we need three dice.
The Biggest difference between Guangdong Mahjong and Taiwan Mahjong are : the amount of its tiles(牌) and how many dice should be thrown.
Japan • Different patterns：