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Thursday, December 13, 2018

How to Buy a Mahjongg Card

The National Mah Jongg League website will begin taking orders for the NEW card on 1/1/19

'Tis the season...for thinking about the new card!  The question of how to get one is starting to surface, so I thought I would post a guide to buying the new card.  Please read this post and follow these guidelines to be sure you get your card as soon as it becomes available at the end of March.
You can ORDER your card in one of the following ways (but you will have to wait until the end of March to receive it):

1.  Collectors - A "collector" is a person who registers with the League and is able to take orders for cards beginning in November.  A collector works on behalf of a charitable organization - when all the orders are collected, payment is submitted to the League, and the organization receives a percentage back as a charitable donation.  Collectors must submit their orders by the end of January.  The collection season has started already and you may order your card from a collector now.
If you buy your card from a collector:  Make certain the collector has the name and address of the place you want your card sent to!  Give your complete address, including apartment number!  When you buy your card from a collector, she will submit your information to the League and your card will be sent to you at the end of March.

2.  By mail from the bulletin:  If you ordered your card from the League last year, you will receive the Bulletin before the end of the year.  When you receive the bulletin, you can remove the address label and attach it to the Application for Membership included in the bulletin.  Write in your e-mail address. Fill out the Order Form indicating how many cards you want, add up the amount and write a check payable to The National Mah Jongg League Inc. There is no sales tax on mahjongg cards. When your check is processed, you will get an e-mail indicating the date your card will be mailed.  The date your order is processed determines when you card is sent!  If you want your card mailed in the first mailing cycle, have it in by early February.

**NOTE TO SNOWBIRDS:  Think about where you will be when the cards get sent and provide the appropriate address.  Or better yet, order two cards; one for NY and one for FL!

3.  By mail without the bulletin:  Beginning at the end of December, you may mail in your order.  You may go to the NMJL website ( and click on "Order by Mail" where you can print out the order form, fill it in and send your check.  Make certain that you have the complete address that you want your card sent to.  You may add your e-mail to the form and you will receive confirmation when your check is processed.  Again, if you want to be in the first mailing, mail your order in by the first week in February.  If you don't have a printer, write the League a nice note containing how many cards you want, what size card you want, your complete name and address, and email address.  Send it to:  National Mah Jongg League, 450 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10123.

4.  Online at the NMJL website:  The website will not accept orders for the 2019 card until January 1.  If you submit an order before then, you will receive a 2018 card, so please wait until January 1 to order online!  If you want to order 2018 cards after January 1, call the League before you order online to make certain your order will be received correctly.  MAKE CERTAIN YOU ARE ON WWW.NATIONALMAHJONGGLEAGUE.ORG IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE YOUR CARD AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE TIME.  Click on the button to order and follow the prompts.  You may also click on "The Store" and follow the prompts.  If you previously bought your card from the League, you are a Member.  If you never bought a card directly from the League, you are not a member.  If you are not sure, click on "I am a Member" and see if it recognizes your name, zip code and house number.  If not, then go back and enter as a new Member.  You will be asked for your e-mail address and when your order is processed you will get an e-mail confirmation.

5. Online at a retailer:  Many online retailers (such as Amazon and mahjongg specific sites) will be accepting "pre-orders" for National Mah Jongg League cards.  Be aware that these retailers buy their cards from the League and then send it to you, so your card will be delayed, as the League's first mailing goes to members who ordered before the early February date.  The second mailing is to members who ordered in the mid-February to mid-March time frame and the last mailing goes to the retailers.  If you order your card from a retailer, the League will not be able to track your order, as it is out of their hands.  Please be careful when you order online as a search of "Buy mahjongg card" will sometimes redirect you to a site other than  so buyer beware!  Remember:  The League does not charge sales tax for cards!!!

6.  In person at the League - You may come to the League in person to buy the 2019 card.  However, not until all the cards have been mailed (late April), so you will be out of luck if you think you can jump the line!  

So there you have it - all the ways to order the new card.  Make sure you do it right!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Trending: Social Mahjongg

The fifth annual 4th of July Mahjongg Social at Bryant Park, NYC

Back in the late 1950s and '60s mahjongg was a weekly affair, held at the same time with the same players and the same pie.  Players took turns being hostess, which meant putting out the set, snacks and ashtrays.  Players played by League rules prevalent at the time, and it was not uncommon to see games that lasted 30 or 40 years.  (Some people are still playing by those rules...)

By the mid '80s, tournament play caught on, and lately the field has mushroomed.  From small fundraisers to transatlantic cruises, single-day, multi-day or mini-day tournaments have come to towns and cities all over the country.  Using National Mah Jongg League rules as a base, tournaments have developed their own structure and style, adding rules which enhance the competitive spirit at work in this milieu. 

Enter social mahjongg, a relatively new phenomenon fueled by waves of retirees looking for a way to meet people, have fun and exercise some brain power in the process.  With very little effort you will find social mahjongg in community centers, libraries, parks, senior centers and clubhouses; organized through Meetup or municipal recreational facilities or just wonderful folks who want to share their love of the game.  Social mahjongg has become my game of choice.

Social mahjongg is open to all; beginners and seasoned alike.  As the organizer of Bryant Park Mahjongg, I've developed some do's and don'ts of social mahjongg:

DO - Expect to play National Mah Jongg League rules - period, full stop.  Table rules may fly in home games, but the social aspect makes it likely that not all players at a table will agree to ____ (fill in the blank here; mush, hot wall, cold wall, put your tile on the rack, in the rack, etc., etc., etc.)

DO  - Abide by the rules of the venue.  If the library doesn't allow playing for money, DON'T pass your quarters under the table.  You may, however, keep score on paper and settle up later, or use chips like they did in the '50s and '60s (see above)

DO - Appreciate your facilitator!  Usually they are volunteers and some things are out of their control.   If the equipment is limited to X number of sets, DON'T whinge about having to rotate in.  Or better yet, bring a set!

DO - Tell your friends to come, but DON'T act like it's your weekly game and exclude people because you're "saving a seat" for someone who may or may not arrive.  The whole point of social mahjongg is to be ....(get ready for it).... SOCIAL!!

DO - Be kind to beginners.  You were there once yourself.  If someone is playing too slow for your taste, change tables! 

DO - Mix and mingle.  Meet and play with new people - even men!  Even young people!  Even Chinese people who know how to play Chinese mahjongg and are very interested in learning American style!  Let people sit next to you and watch and learn.  DON'T just play with people from your building, club or zip code. 

And, most of all, DO have fun!  As I've heard many, many, many a time - It's a GAME!!!!