What It Is
The Mah Jongg Card Game lets fans of Mah Jongg play the popular game with cards instead of tiles. There are two ways to play: the modern American version or the Chinese version.
In the American version, the object is to go mah jongg by drawing and discarding cards until you have three sets of four identical cards and one pair. Once the dealer has dealt each player 13 cards (The dealer gets 14.), each player exchanges three cards with the player sitting on the right, then three cards with the player sitting opposite, then three cards with the player on the left. Then the dealer discards one card face up to start the game. Play passes to the right with each player, on their turn, drawing the top card of the draw pile, adding it to their hand, and discarding a card face up on the discard pile. Play continues until someone goes mah jongg. As soon as a player has three sets of four cards and a pair, he lays down his hand and shouts, "Mah Jongg!" That player "takes" points from the other players. Then the next round begins. Once each player has been the dealer, the game is over, and the player with the highest score wins. There are also rules for more advanced play.
The Chinese Mah Jongg version represents the original way to play the game. The goal of this version is to go mah jongg before anyone else. To do so, you may assemble any combination of card groups totaling 14 cards. Card groups can be three of a kind, four of a kind, three or four numerically sequential cards, and pairs. In this version, each player gets 13 cards, but players do not exchange cards. Play begins with the dealer drawing and discarding. Play continues to the right until someone goes mah jongg, yelling out "Mah Jongg" and laying down the cards. That player then scores points. (Scoring is more elaborate in the Chinese version so make sure you pay attention to the score chart.) Then the next round begins. Once each player has been the dealer, the game is over, and the player with the highest score wins.
Mah Jongg Card Game comes with 152 gold foil-edged cards, a score pad, a custom card tray, and illustrated instructions. It is for three to six players.
Why It’s Fun
The Mah Jongg Card Game is a great way to enjoy both the American and Chinese versions of the classic game. The gold-edged cards make this version special (and like classic playing cards from the 1940s and 1950s). We like that there is a two-minute version of the rules, so players can quickly get set up and playing. If you need more information on the rules, the instructions provide a more detailed rules section. With the different ways to play, including the more advanced instructions in the American version, Mah Jongg Card Game can be played by beginners as well as more seasoned players.
Who It’s For
The Mah Jongg Card Game is for ages 13 and up.
What To Be Aware Of
It's a little difficult to play the American version with an odd number of players. Exchanging cards with the person sitting to your left and right is easy, but if you only have three players, how do you exchange cards with the player sitting opposite? The instructions don't explain if there is a proper way to do this or if one player just doesn't exchange cards.