The Jaded Gamer

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hanging in the balance

Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
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Anyway, how's your sex life?
"She said the same thing about waffles."
Microbadge: Offline from The Geek for a while
Mah Jong at lunchtime and we are comfortably fitting in four hands of it every time at this point.

Following a single Kong for P in the first hand, G, desperate for the sweet smell of victory, settled for two chicken hands (rubbish hands worth a token one point). I had not really got into the game at all until my fourth hand - and since I was behind in points went back to basics.

A triplet of any one dragon is worth ten points and if you draw a pair of them the likelihood of the other players discarding them is pretty high so you can obtain a significant return for not an enormous effort.

The rest of my hand was cursory, to say the least, but it was enough to give me the lead at the halfway stage.

Current Standing:
Alec 23
P 3
G -9
"Dead Ben" - The dummy hand -17

I'm very pleased that my regular opponents, G and P are really getting the hang of the relatively complex discard claiming rules, so i thought I would explain them here.

The simplest way to win is to draw the final tile you need yourself, but in certain circumstances you can claim your opponents' discards too - in Zung Jung scoring, the big hands will cost extra points to anyone who discarded the tile claimed for the win, encouraging more skilful judgement of the odds and risks of every discard you make.

So when can you steal your opponents' tiles?

Simply put, the rule of thumb is that you can claim a discard to either complete a set or to win. Let me explain in more detail because it gets a little tricky. The order in which I will explain it is also the order of priority, if two or three players claim the same discard. 1 is the highest priority and 4 is the lowest. Ties in this priority are broken in turn order.

1) Mah Jong AKA Winning AKA Going Out
- you can claim any discard at all to complete your final sequence of any kind, or pair.

2) Four Of A Kind AKA Kong
- If you have three of a kind in hand and an opponent discards the fourth, you can claim it for a meld, skipping all players in-between and continuing as if you had just drawn from the wall. Any players in-between you and the discarder are skipped.
- Important note - if you have already melded a triplet and someone discards the fourth tile of that kind, you MAY NOT meld with it. This is because otherwise your opponent will have a tile they KNOW they should not discard and therefore it's a case of hand your opponent some points or hold onto a potentially useless tile and lose your chances of winning.

3) Triplet AKA Pung AKA Pong (hee hee!)
- You can claim a discard from any opponent to complete three of a kind, making it your turn to discard (i.e. you skip forward to your turn)

4) Sequence AKA Chow
- You can claim a discard from the immediately preceding player ONLY. You cannot claim sequences from anyone else unless it is to win. The rationale behind this is, presumably, that sequences are far too easy to create if you can claim them from anywhere.

I hope this clears up any questions some people may have.
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