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After emerging in 19th century China, mahjong travelled across the world in the 20th century. In mahjong, there are typically four players who play the game from a set of 144 tiles that comprise Chinese characters and other symbols.
When the game starts, each player will have 13 tiles to use against their opponents. In mahjong, the aim of the players is to form a “pair” along with four “melds”. Together, this combination is termed as mahjong. Thanks to the diverse tiles, there are numerous ways to create melds and pairs.
In mahjong, there are suited tiles that comprise 36 dots, 36 bamboos, and 36 characters within the wider set of tiles. Honours would be the next suit and comprises 16 winds along with 12 dragons. Finally, the bonus suit consists of four flowers and four seasons.
Within the dots, bamboos, and characters, these tiles are numbered from 1 to 9. Among the honours, the winds are divided into north, east, south, and west, while the dragons can be red, green, or white. Meanwhile, the flowers include plum blossom, orchid, chrysanthemum, and bamboo, with the seasons including spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
A match includes four rounds and will begin with the east wind, which is followed by the south, west, and north, respectively. Four hands will be played in a round and the first dealer will be determined by the player who rolls highest with two dice. To make a legal hand, the players will aim to draw a 14th tile.
When trying to make a hand, there are melds that include pongs (three matching tiles), kongs (four matching tiles), chows (three suited tiles in a numeric sequence), and eyes (two identical tiles). The action plays out anti-clockwise and there are numerous rules beyond the basics of the game. In fact, there are different rules depending on the version of mahjong that is being played.
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