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Sunday, August 16, 2020

Virtual Mahjongg


 It's been five months since the last post and, like every other aspect of life, our mahjongg world has been transformed.  We have had our comfortable rug pulled out from under us and we are all swirling in a zone of uncertainty, questioning everything about what once was certain.  But we do know one thing:  Mahjongg is not going away.  As with every other social crisis over the entire 80-plus years of the existence of the Mahjongg League, our beloved game has adapted and proved solid.  And so has our mahjongg community and all the players who will not let this game go the way of (take your pick) --->

"Oh, no, not I," says mahjongg, to quote from a popular disco hit, "I will survive," and, thanks to the virtual world, it will.

For some people, it's a giant stretch to play mahjongg online.  But, folks, if the National Mah Jongg League can go virtual....Yes!  The phones go live tomorrow, yet the office is not open.  The cards can be ordered, the game can be played, there is even an email address for card order inquries:
Your inquiries will be read and responded to.

We should all give kudos to the admins of the online sites - whether you play on the League site, Mahjongg Time, myjongg, Real Mahjongg or any other iteration of the NMJL game, these folks are doing stellar work dealing with the huge influx of new subscribers.  

Players everywhere are rising to the challenge by finding ways to adapt and experience the game in a new way.  Technology is driving innovation, as players find ways to "stay in the game," and enjoy the challenge of playing the card and connecting with each other.

While it is clear that we are all waiting for our real lives to return, some of the "new normal" may find its way into the long term - things like online tournaments, group Zoom mahjongg, family game time, Siamese and Solitaire mahjongg and social events like webinars and conferences.  Hmmm...that's an idea...a virtual mahjongg conference with speakers and panel discussions with the online admins... It's not something we would have thought of previously, but now it doesn't seem like an outlandish idea.

For myself, I have been busy.  I have tried to replicate the Bryant Park social experience on Zoom, using breakout rooms and Real Mahjongg.   We play from 7:30-9:30 Eastern time every Monday night and have been getting folks from far and wide.  For this event, you need a Facebook account to sign in to the Mahjongg at Bryant Park page to pick up the meeting ID and password, then sign in with Zoom, find a table and start playing Real Mahjongg with your new friends.  I also run a live group chat for beginners/intermediate beginners, where we work collaboratively on strategies for passing, forming a hand, making decisions, etc.  This group meets via Zoom on Fridays from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. also Eastern time.  If you are interested in joining (no charge) please send me an e-mail.  Do not leave your e-mail in the comments, however, as the comments below are public.  My email can be found by clicking on my profile at the bottom of the blog.

There are so many others who are doing great things to keep the flame of our game alive; the vendors and tournament directors and Facebook page admins. authors and vloggers and everyday players who refuse to let their friends get into a slump.
They know that mahjongg has energizing and healing powers - we get it from each other and we get it from the tiles and the game itself, which can take us away from the troubled world and give us a more manageable one, at least for awhile.

What are you doing to get your mahj on?  Let us know!

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