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Sunday, March 24, 2013


I haven't gotten my new card yet 
But my friend Luisa did, and she let me look!  Actually, I snatched the card away and ran to my room to compare it to last year's card.  And since I am down with a cold on this sunny Sunday I feel it is my duty to inform those who are patiently waiting of what is in store.  Some has changed and some remains the same, so take out your 2012 card and follow along:

The four hands in this section are substantially similar to 2012.  The values of the first two hands are x25 as opposed to x30.  This may be because instead of 2012, which requires a pair of 2's, 2013 are all singles and   the probabilities are greater.  The first hand changes from four norths and four souths to one north, two easts and three wests.  The second hand changes from four ones and four twos to four ones and four threes.  The third hand is the same except it's a 13 instead of a 12, so you no longer need the joker in the kong.  The value dropped from 35 to 30.  The last hand in 2012 is gone (sniff, sniff, I really liked that hand, it was a real challenge) It is replaced by FFFF DDD 2013 DDD.  This hand is easier than the 2012 hand, but it is still closed.  You can use jokers like crazy, and it's ANY dragons, which means its inherently swappable with FFFF DDDD DD DDDD which is still on the card, or FF DDDD NEWS DDDD.  This should be fun.

Second hand down is gone.  The third hand down and the fourth hand down are still on the card.  The pung/kong pattern of the fourth hand has changed.  Instead of 222 444 6666 8888 it is now 222 4444 666 8888, so it has gone from being a pung, pung, kong, kong to a pung/kong, pung/kong.  This change was also made in consecutive run (111 2222 333 4444), odds (1-3-3-5 and 5-7-7-9) and 3-6-9.  The first hand is gone, replaced by pair/pung/DDDD/pung/pair.  This also shows up in odds, but not 3-6-9.  2s and 8s with dragons is out, and the last hand has switched from a pair of dragons to a pair of flowers, giving us six 2468 hands instead of seven.

There are two hands in like numbers.  The flowers/numbers pattern has switched, instead of a kong of flowers and a pair of numbers, it's three kongs of numbers and a pair of flowers.  The 2011 dragons with like numbers is back - but, oh, no, it's CLOSED.  Hang on to those dragons!

Eleven hands have switched to seven hands with a twist - the pair is in the middle instead at the end.

Don't look for the 135 or 579 quints hand - they're out.  1-2-3 remains as does 1223 with quints matching pairs.  Flower Dragon Number is now Wind Dragon Number, which I always thought it was until I realized I was holding winds for nothing.  The value has gone up from 40 to 45, maybe because there are eight flowers and four winds?

The pattern has changed on the classic hand back to pair/pung/kong/pung/pair.  This change was made in odds as well.  (Translation:  This means you need a pair of ones and a pair of fives instead of a pair of ones and a pair of twos, etc.)  No more 1-2-1-2-3, sorry to say.  The last hand doesn't really make up for it; 111 222 111 222 DD, it's closed and worth 30.  Hands that are the same:  Flowers-1-2-Dragons and Flowers 1-2-3 in three suits.  1-2-3-4 is still there with a changed pattern as mentioned above; pung/kong/pung/kong.
Good news - the "sandwich" hand is back!  1111 22 22 22 3333 - The pairs are "sandwiched" between the kongs in a consecutive run.  Thanks, League!

I've always suspected the League favored odd numbers. They certainly give us more odd numbered hands than any other, although that could be because there are five odd numbers.  (I favor evens and 369s, so count on me to pass you a seven.)  The first two hands are there but with a different pattern (pair of ones and pair of nines; pung/kong/pung/kong)  Third hand changes from pair of flowers pair of dragons to four flowers no dragons.  There is a pair/pung/DDDD/pung/pair hand, which I like.  One and Nines with Dragons is out, replaced by a "sandwich" hand - a kong of ones and a kong of nines with pairs of 3, 5 and 7 in the middle in a second suit.  It's a tough hand, worth 30.  The five pairs and a kong hands (worth only 30!) remain, but the last hand has reverted back to 1-3-5/1-3-5 in two suits or 5-7-9/5-7-9 in two suits.

First hand the same.  The second two "sandwich" hands are out.  Hmmm...why did they seem so hard when the consecutive run sandwich hand seems much easier???  They are replaced by the old favorite:  Kongs of norths and souths with TWO PUNGS OF ODDS IN ONE SUIT.  Remember, folks, YOU NEED TWO JOKERS FOR THIS HAND BUT YOU CAN CALL THE PUNGS SEPARATELY.  And of course Kongs of East/West with two pungs of identical evens.  The Winds with kong of flowers in the middle has changed to a pair of flowers, kongs of north and south and pairs of east and west.  This seems HARD - three pairs, an open hand, worth thirty.  So why is a CLOSED HAND WITH FIVE PAIRS (see 1/3/5) also worth thirty????  Must defer to wisdom of the League........

Is it me or does it always seem like 3-6-9 hands get short shrift?  No matter.  First hand same; second hand changes pattern: pung/kong/pung/kong.  Third hand -- hey, something new!  333 666 9999 9999.  Okay, I'll take that.  (I like 9s.  My favorite tile is a 9 crak in case you want to know).  The third and fourth hand on the 2012 card are the same.  The last two hands are gone, replaced by, hey, A CLOSED HAND WITH FIVE PAIRS AND A KONG worth 30, same pattern as the 1-3-5 hand.

Winds and pairs the same.  Seven consecutive pairs changes to pair of flowers, five consecutive pairs with pair of matching dragons.  Odd numbered pairs hand is 1/3/5/7/9 pairs followed by pairs of any like odd.  We've seen that one before.  Even pairs hand is pair of flowers, pairs of evens followed by pairs of any like evens.  My all-time favorite, flowers with consecutive numbered pairs (FF 1122 1122 1122)!! Yay!  And, of course, the BIG HAND for 2013.

So there you have it, and if you haven't gotten your card yet, you soon will - hopefully this preview will whet your appetite.  Now I have to unlock the door before Luisa bangs it down...


  1. This is great, thank you very much!!! Can't wait to get my new card - I LOVE this preview!

  2. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. I'm excited to check the mailbox this week! I've been wondering if they had been sent out... Thanks for the sneak peek!

  4. I haven't received my card yet either so I really appreciate the preview. In your discussion of the Like Numbers hands, you say that one hand has four kongs of numbers plus a pair of flowers. Do you mean three kongs of numbers plus a pair of flowers? Thanks again!

    1. You are right - thanks for catching that. I must have been overly excited while writing! Will correct it.

  5. i ordered my card on Jan 3 and still do not have it. Wish someone would send me a pic of the card so I'm not at a disadvantage. this is so unfair


    1. The only book I know of is Elaine Sandberg's book, which is general overall and not limited to any one year. You can find it at:

  7. Hello,

    I am very new to Mah Jongg, in fact played it for the first time yesterday. While playing (using the National Mah Jongg League's rules I had a question about one hand. it is 1223 with quints matching pairs. Does it have to be 1223 with quints matching pairs or could it be 1123 or 1233 with quints matching pairs? Any help would be appreciated. One other question is bonus tiles common? The tile where you can use it to take any discarded tile.

    Thanks again in advance for any help.

    1. The pair in the run must match the quints. If you are playing the hand with ones, then the pair in the run must be 1123. If you are playing with twos, then it's either 1223 or 2234. With threes it's 1233, 2334 or 3345, etc. etc.

      I am not sure what you mean by bonus tiles. We use jokers - you may call a discarded tile if you have enough tiles in your hand to complete a pung (three of a kind), kong (four of a kind) or quint (five of a kind). You must expose your tiles and you may use jokers in your exposures.

    2. OK that helps out. I was told that the pair had to be the middle of the run so that is very good to know. I did know that the quints must match whatever pair it was. So it could be 1123 11111 11111 or 1223 22222 22222 or 1233 33333 33333. Had we known the rules better I could have had a Mah Jongg on my first playing of the game. Oh well.

      The bonus tiles was something that they were using that was a separate tile from the rest. It seemed to have a sticker on it covering up another tile but I didn't peel it off to see what it was (could have been extra tiles, hate to think it was covering a tile that was needed). The basic function of the Bonus tile was that you could swap it out on your turn for any discarded tile. So say a Bams 1 was discarded on the first turn but you didn't pick it up. 10 rounds later if you had the bonus tile you could trade that for the discard Bams 1. Then you drew a tile and continued your normal turn. This is different than the joker tiles (of which we used 8) that you could use in your hand and could be swapped out by another player if they had the tile that the wild represented.

      Sorry if any of my terminology is wrong or confusing. As I said I am really new to it, only played two rounds of which the first I almost got the Mah Jongg in the first round and the second round I managed to get the FF 2013 2013 2013 Closed one.

    3. Great luck getting the "big hand" on your second game! The "bonus tile" is not something that is used in games played using National Mah Jongg League rules. I would also imagine an extra tile would make the wall uneven when the tiles are first set up, unless they are taking another tile, such as a joker, and designating it a bonus tile. There are lots of different table rules that people use - but it's important to know that it is a table rule and that if you play with different people they most probably will not have heard of this.