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What is Mah Jongg?

Mah Jongg is an ancient tile-based game that originated in China over 2000 years ago and has spread in popularity throughout the world ever since. It is usually played by four people with 144 rectangular pieces called tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols. Players draw and discard tiles with the object of the game being to complete a winning hand of tiles before your opponents do! There are fairly standard rules about how a piece is drawn, how a piece is robbed from another player, etc. Some groups have private table rules which distinguish some variations. Mah Jongg is a game of skill, strategy, calculation and a bit of luck.

In Chinese, the game was originally called 麻雀 (pinyin: máquè)—meaning sparrow—which is still used in some languages in southern China. It is said that the clacking of tiles during shuffling resembles the chattering of sparrows.

There are many variations of Mah Jongg and the 4 most common are: 1) Chinese Classical Mah Jongg, 2) Cantonese/Hong Kong Mah Jongg, 3) Japanese Mah Jongg 4) American Mah Jongg 

Mah Jongg hand in person.JPG
Mah Jongg Next Generation teaches and plays American Mah Jongg according to the National Mah Jongg League rules. When this ancient game was introduced in the USA in 1920, it was received enthusiastically by the American public. Many felt the game would be improved and simplified by adding new combinations of tiles and eliminating some of the old combinations. It wasn't long before every group had its own combinations, leading to a fair amount of confusion in the game-playing community.

In 1937, a number of Mah Jongg enthusiasts met in New York City to standardize the game so that all Mah Jongg players would play the same hands and rules. It was at this meeting that the National Mah Jongg League was founded. Each year the League changes the hands and rules to add more excitement to the game & they publish a new rules card. We are entering our 84th year!
For more than 83 years, the National Mah Jongg League has been the arbitrator for everything that relates to American Maajh. The League started with 32 members and today numbers over 350,000.
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