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Monday, March 27, 2017

The 2017 Card - Six Flowers are back!!

Six flowers!

Like a migrating spring bird, the card is making its way across the country, first spotted on Saturday, March 25 in Suffolk County, NY.  If yours hasn't come yet, take out your 2016 card and follow along in this year's synopsis:

The only change in the categories is from 2016 to 2017 and Eleven Hands are now "Lucky 13". The pung, pung, kong, kong pattern has changed back to pung, kong, pung, kong, and the pair, pair, pung, pung, kong  has changed back to pair, pung, kong, pung, pair.  These patterns have alternated from year to year and this was not unexpected.  There is a pair, pair, pung, pung, kong pattern in 2468, Consecutive Run,  13579 and 369.  An example of this is the 11 22 111 222 3333 hand, which has been retained.

Some changes:  No wind/year hand combination this year.
Only four "year" hands
First hand is the pung, kong, pung, kong combo in two suits; 222 0000 111 7777
Second hand pair of flowers, kong of dragons, 2017, kong of dragons in second suit.
Third hand is something new - pair of flowers, followed by 2017 and two kongs of sevens; 3 suits.
The fourth hand is closed and is the same as the current closed hand except the last pung is sevens.

Pay close attention here!  Many hands look the same, but they are not!
The first hand is now a kong of flowers, single two, pair of four, pung of sixes and kong of eights.
Second hand pattern changes to pung, kong, pung, kong.
The three kongs of 2-4-6 with the pair of eights in one suit has been retained, as has the hand above it on the 2016 card.
The hand with the two pairs of eights is out, and the closed hand with dragons is out.
The dragon hand in evens is now in the pair, pair, pung, pung, kong pattern.  22 44 666 888 DDDD (3 suits)
The closed hand is a pair of flowers followed by four pungs each of 2468.

Like Numbers
Now it gets interesting!
Like numbers has been shaken up a bit.  Still only two hands.
First hand three suits; pair of flowers, kong of number, kong of dragon, kong of like number.  This may take a bit of getting used to.
Second hand a six flower hand.  Pung of flowers, kong of number, pung of flowers, kong of like number.  Open hand, value 30.
Makes those flowers way more valuable, IMHO.

Lucky "13" Hands
Fours and nines, fives and eights, sixes and sevens, all add up to 13.
Hang on to those flowers and sevens when and if you want to go joker shopping!

My old favorite in first place:  Quint any wind, kong any dragon, quint any number.
Second place like numbers - quint, kong, quint.  Fairly straightforward.
Third place:  Consecutive run.  Pair of flowers, quint, pair, quint, any three consecutive, one suit; i.e., FF 11111 22 33333. This substitutes for that infernal FF 11111 66 77777 hand which I never made.
Fourth place is odds, unusual pattern: 111 3333 55555 DD or 555 7777 99999 DD.  Only one quint so only one joker needed.  One suit, these numbers only.  Hmmm...more sevens...

Consecutive run:
The classic first hand is now pair, pung, kong, pung, pair.
Flowers 1-2-3 is BACK!
11 22 111 222 3333 is RETAINED!
Kong of flowers, one suit consecutive run kong with pair of matching dragons is BACK!
The sandwich hand is RETAINED!  (Kong pair/pair/pair kong)  Some call it bookends.
The Margaretann hand is BACK!   I mean, the closed hand, pung-pair-pung consecutive with two pungs of opposite dragons - value 30.  Margaretann played it (and made it) often.
Consecutive runs now seems like a haven of classic, cherished hands.

First hand is now pair, pung, kong, pung, pair.
1-3-3-5 and 5-7-7-9 is now pung, kong, pung, kong.
The one-nine bookends with pairs of 3-5-7 has been retained.
The dragon hand in odds now fits the pattern of the dragon hand in evens.
Three suits: 11 33 333 555 DDDD or the same in 5-7-9-D.  More sevens!
Flowers and odds has changed to pair of flowers, kong each of 1-3-5 or 5-7-9.
(I'm telling you, there will be fisticuffs over those sevens!)
Another pattern hand is next: 11 33 111 333 555 (3 suits), same in 5-7-9.
The closed hand is different yet familiar: 111 3 555 555 7 999.  Only 1 seven in this one.

Winds - Dragons
A little fun with winds and dragons.
First hand is the same, kongs of N-E-W and pair of souths.
Second hand is a sandwich:  Kong of norths and souths with pairs of dragons in the middle.  The hand comes in easts and wests as well.  30 points.
A variation on the closed hand; norths and souths with odds, easts and wests with evens, but the pattern is now: pair of number, pung of wind, pair of number, pung of wind, kong of number (3 suits)
Next hand is - aha! - another six flower hand.  Can be done in North/South or East/West.
Pung of flowers, kong of wind, pung of flowers, kong of wind.
And the last hand is a switch from a kong of flowers to a pair of flowers with three kongs of dragons.

Not a whole lot of change for this category, although the closed hand looks interesting.
The one suit dragon hand is now: Kong of 3, pair of six, kong of nine, kong of dragons.  No flowers.
Second hand has conformed to pattern in other categories:  pung, kong, pung kong of 3-6-6-9.
The third hand is retained.  Pair of flowers, kong each of 3-6-9 in one or three suits.
Fourth hand retained in same position.  Conforms to pattern; pair, pair, pung, pung, kong. 3-6-3-6-9.
Fifth hand tweaked and instead of like pungs it's now in three suits.  Pair each of 3-6-9 and kongs of 3, 6, or 9 in the other two suits.
The final, closed hand is something new.  Two flowers, pung of 3, pung of 6, then pung of 9 in second suit and pung of 9 in third suit.

Singles and pairs
Something old, something new in singles and pairs.
Wind hand is pairs of all winds and pairs of like numbers.
Consecutive run hand is seven pairs, any consecutive numbers in one suit.  (There are only three possibilities for this hand - 1 through 7, 2 through 8 or 3 through 9)  I actually made this hand last week - too bad it wasn't on the card yet!
The 369 pairs hand has been retained.
The evens pairs hand has been brought back: pair of flowers, two suits of 224688.
Odds pairs hand is pairs of 13579 with like odd pairs in opposite two suits.
The pair of flowers with pairs of consecutive numbers is retained; i.e., FF 11 22 11 22 11 22.
The final hand is a bit of a surprise.  It's not the standard FF 2017 2017 2017, but rather:
FF 2017 DD 2017 DD in bams and craks only.  (Let's see how many go dead on this one!)

So there you have this year's card - something for each one of the League's hundreds of thousands of members.  Can't wait to play!


  1. WOW! That was a speedy analysis!
    Happy a pair of six Flowers Hands are back after a long wait.
    Thanks, And may The FORCE of Sevens be with you.
    Arlene C

  2. Got my card today and was excited, but still seems like the creators lack imagination. I was really hoping that since the old guard has changed that we'd really get a bunch of new hands. 10 of the 52 hands are absolutely the same (almost 20%), 25 have been on a card in the last seven - ten years (another 50%), but I will admit there are 9 entirely new ones (only 15%). rest are just variation of older hands.

    I just wish they had been a little different over the various sections - not pung Kong pung Kong everywhere. To me it is also disappointing to see that the only place were there are 3FFF are the hands that take 6 Flowers so you automatically are telegraphing which hands you are possibly playing. There are also only 6 wind hands and 11 Dragon hands - definitely not a good percentage to make you want to hold onto those tiles..

    But I agree - hold on to those flowers and 7s. Just keep tossing those winds and dragons (except for the soap, of course!).

    1. Mrs. Unger always said that the most difficult part of creating a new card is to make it challenging for the experienced player but rewarding for the beginner. This is the first card under new leadership so it is understandable they would wish to be conservative. The last hand is a little quirky - maybe a hint at a new direction? What sorts of hands would you suggest?

  3. Thanks for doing this again. Last year you pointed out the "must verbalize a call" that I would have missed otherwise.

  4. When are they ever going to bring back "NEWS" hands?

    1. In looking over my old cards, I noticed that NEWS appeared most often in years with two zeros; i.e., from 2001 to 2009. It was certainly in the big hand, what with four soaps needed. Last year was sort of NEWSy with NN EW SS, so perhaps it's brought out when needed.

  5. Thanks so much for your prompt analysis. You might have a typo under closed hand winds and dragons. You mention pair kong pair kong kong.but it is pair pung pair pung kong I think

    1. Yes, thank you. I have made the correction. Good eyes!

  6. Thank you for posting

  7. You are the best! I read that there were changes to the rules on the back - will you please elaborate? Thank you!

    1. No rule changes on the back of the card this year.

  8. I'm a fairly new player as are all the members of my group. We were confused about the new like numbers category. It says (Any 3 suits) but it doesn't say any number. Is this a mistake? Can you really use any like number?

    1. Any like number may be used. They inadvertently left off the word "any" this year, but the hand has always been played as any like numbers.

    2. Thanks so much! That's what we thought, but we wanted to confirm so we didn't play the hand incorrectly. This makes that hand so much more fun to play!

  9. Card looks very interesting and the last hand should prove to be the most interesting of all. Glad it was changed. Too boring and I haven't made it since 2014

  10. Linda, on the second second 2017 hand, is it true that the 2017 can match one of the dragon kongs? The coloring on the card seems to imply that the 2017 has to be a non-matching suit, but in the parentheses it says 2 OR 3 suits.

    1. The directions in parenthesis take precedence. You can do it in two suits (i.e., 2017 can match one of the dragon kongs) or three. The thing to remember about that hand is to save a soap for the 2017 if you are going to use a kong of soaps.

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  12. Lucky 13. Do the 4s have to be bamboo and the 9s cracks. Or is it any three suits?

    1. When the hand is shown in three colors on the card, it means the hand may be played in any three suits. The colors do not correspond to the suit, unless specifically noted in parenthesis.

  13. Can the standard hands and rules booklet be purchased anywhere in suffolk county instead of through the league

  14. Try Northgate Stationery at 1139 Jericho Turnpike in Commack - (631)670-6080. I know it sounds counterintutive, but if you call the League at 212-246-3052, they have a list of retailers and can tell you of others.

  15. Card looks very interesting and the last hand should prove to be the most interesting of all. Glad it was changed. Too boring and I haven't made it since 2014

  16. When a tile is thrown and the person across from the person that threw the tile calls it and puts up her tiles, while at the same time the person next to pick calls it, who gets the tile? Thank you.

    1. If a player has already exposed her tiles, the second player is too late, even if she is next in turn.

  17. A player replaces a joker before they draw their tile for their turn. Can they still draw a tile and rack in their hand for discarding? or are they dead? or do they miss their turn to draw?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. You must first draw a tile from the wall before replacing a joker. If you take a tile out of your hand to replace before you pick, you no longer have the required number of tiles, and your hand can be declared dead. Your turn doesn't begin until the tile is drawn from the wall.
      Mahjongg Made Easy, page 21, states: "Player must pick or call first before doing the Joker exchange."