Those of you who have begun playing with the 2010 National Mah Jongg League card may have noticed a confusing hand. The second hand under Like Numbers groups two pairs together without a space — 11DD (in green) and also groups two pungs together without a space — 111DDD (in Red). A strict reading of the card would indicate that the 111DDD is a sextet, and a tile in that sextet can be called only when a player has five of the six tiles in the sextet. However, since the hand is worth only 25 points, it seems strange that a player should need to collect a sextet before calling. Also, calling for that particular sextet would give away the player’s hand immediately since it is the only hand on the card with a sextet made up of pung numbers and pung matching dragons.
It turns out that there is a mistake on the card. I have asked the National Maj Jongg League how to interpret the hand, and they have told me that there should be s space between the “11″ and “DD” and between the “111″ and the “DDD.”
The interpretation of the 11DD is not affected by the lack of a space because with or without a space, the 11 and the DD are pairs that can be called only for mah jongg.
It is up to you and your friends how to play the sextet in the hand. You can play it as written — and call only for the sixth tile — or you can play it as intended — and call separately for the pung numbers and the pung dragons. Before you begin your game, you should discuss the hand and how your group will play it.
Filed Under (National Mah Jongg League Card) by Elissa on February 15, 2010
As the year of the 2009 National Mah Jongg League card winds down, I decided to take a moment to reflect on playing with the card. Every year there are players who like the new card and those who don’t. I find their preference is usually based on whether they win more or less than they did with other cards and whether their favorite hand remains. A player’s favorite card year tends to be the year she or he won the most.
The 2009 card repeated a number of hands verbatim from recent cards.
These kinds of hands that reappear yearly or after a multi-year absence favor seasoned players who are already comfortable with the hands from previous years. Of course, if these hands didn’t work for a player in the past, that player may rue their reappearance.
In 2009, I missed some aspects of the old cards. When I hit the flower jackpot this year, I was disappointed that there was no hand that used six flowers like there was on the cards from 2005 through 2008. I also missed the “Like Number” category of hands that last appeared in 2006.
I found a few aspects of the 2009 card particularly challenging. Souths were elusive tiles in 2009 since they were singles or pairs in all of the hands composed exclusively of winds and dragons. That meant if I discarded all of my numbers in favor of winds and dragons, I had to pick up at least one South to win. If I failed to collect a South tile, I could not switch to another purely wind or dragon hand. I also found it particularly difficult to switch among the Even hands. They shared so few similarities that it seemed like the best way to win with one was to commit early and call often. Switching when some even tiles went dead did not seem to be an option.
Overall, I think I have won far more this year than I did in past years. I expect in 2010 and beyond, I will be the one complaining that I miss the 2009 card!