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