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Monday, January 3, 2011

Oops! I meant to say "flower"

Now, usually the mistake is that someone throws a 1 bam and calls it a flower.  This time W (I'm going to stick with E,W, N and S initials to protect the innocent) threw a flower and called it a 1 bam.  What followed caused a little bit of  confusion.
E pointed out to W that the tile was misnamed and was really a flower.
N said, oh, I want the flower.
S said, you're too late, I already racked my tile.
N said, oh, well, never mind,  I don't want the flower.  The game's almost over, forget it.  Besides, I would have had to put the flower up with three jokers.
S said, well, now, if you don't want it,  I want the flower.  She misnamed it, I should be able to put my tile back and call it. 
We thought about it and consulted the rule book, Tom Sloper's The Red Dragon and the West Wind, which stated that if a tile is misnamed and then correctly named, the correctly named tile may be called.  But it made no mention of if the following player picked and racked. 
We then resorted to the window of opportunity rule, which states that if a tile is discarded, it may be called until the next player picks and racks, so nobody could call the flower.
S was upset because the flower would have set her. 
Then the discussion was about paying attention to the table.  If someone was looking as opposed to just listening, they would see the tile was a flower and would not have picked and racked.  Just as an FYI, in Japanese and other style mahjongg, the tiles are never named and are just silently placed on the table.  So misnaming never happens.  But for some unknown reason, we must name what we discard, which often times leads to mishaps such as above.  Once I played with a woman who said "South" in such a way it sounded like "Soap".  She had to let everyone in advance know that it could mess things up.  So always pay attention!

So in this case both S and N were out of luck and we ended up playing to a wall game.


  1. Hi! Thanks for keeping your rules page up after geocities shut. I printed it to teach some friends and the tile photos helped alot. Very nicely done. :)

    Saw a similar discussion on these lines on Sloper, and I'd like to add that many players are older and use bifocals. These don't always work well for distance viewing below eye-level. Also short women sitting at a rectangular dining table will not have the field of view of a taller person. Some of us HAVE to rely mainly on the spoken word. Third, what about older worn tiles? We all love bakelite sets but the writing isn't always perfect.

    I'm just saying these things are bound to happen and it isn't as easily preventable as TS seems to think! We're only human. :)

  2. Yes, I agree. It helps to have a nice, new set with bright, clear tiles in an easy-to-see color combination. Maybe some grandchildren reading this can treat their bubbies to a new set that's easy on the eyes. The MJ gods will thank them for it!