Mahjong - 8/27/83

Mahjong, the staple of Japanese game systems. Nary a new system goes by without a mahjong game (or 2, or 3) coming out at launch time. I am fairly familiar with the rules of classical mahjong, however, the game of Japanese mahjong has some major differences. Mahjong is very similar to rummy, but is played with tiles instead of cards. The object is to get 4 groups of 3 (either a sequence, or 3 of a kind), and a pair. The game is generally played with 4 players, but many mahjong video games are played with 2. The addition to the Japanese game is the concept of fans. Fans are special characteristics of a hand which add to its value. If your hand does not meet a certain number of fans, it is not legal to go out, even if your hand would otherwise meet the requirements. I was unsure what the difference between the menu items are, because I am neither literate enough in Japanese nor familiar enough with Japanese mahjong to tell the difference. One nice graphical touch that I've not seen before is that as the tiles are dealt, some of them come in to your hand upside-down. They are then sorted and placed right side up. This game is basically the same as practically every other mahjong game of this era. The tiles and the points are presented in a no nonsense manner, and there is little else to see or comment on. If you enjoy 2 player mahjong, this is certainly playable, despite its age.


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