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Friday, March 29, 2024

2024 Card Overview


This blog post is dedicated to the late Grace Gustin, and her favorite flower.

My goodness, is it that time again?  I haven't posted for a year?!?  Well, it doesn't mean I wasn't playing or doing all things mahjongg. I did a lot of teaching this year, and my students have expressed a lot of trepidation regarding the change to the new card, and asked how to transition.  My advice is when the new card comes, take the old card and go line by line to compare. This is what I do, and it helps to process the changes.  So join me as I do this year's side-by-side comparison.  
If you haven't received the new card, you can follow along with the 2023 card and see what to expect.

SPOILER ALERT:  Although there is no image of the card used, this blog post describes all of the new hands on the 2024 card. You do not need to have the new card to follow along, but if you want the experience of seeing the hands for the first time when you open your envelope, stop reading now and continue after you receive your card.  

The "pattern hand" has changed from pung/kong/pung/kong to pung/pung/kong/kong and this shows itself in the first hand on the card.  Change the 3s to 4s and you have a familiar hand.  
The second hand on the 2023 card has been tweaked.  You still have two flowers and the year, but the kongs are like numbers, either 2s or 4s.  This will come in handy as like number kongs appear in two other categories; like numbers and consecutive.
The dragon hand and the closed hand in 2023 are gone, replaced by a hand with four flowers, four 2s, four soaps and a 24 in a second suit.  Note: There is no other hand with four soaps and four 2s, but there is a hand in winds and dragons which could have an exposure of four flowers and four soaps.
The closed hand is a winds hand in the pyramid pattern; NNEEE2024WWWSS.

Hand numbers 1 and 2 in 2023 are gone, but don't fret.
Hand number 3 in 2468 in 2023 is now hand number 1 in 2024, with a change in pattern to pung/pung/kong/kong.  
Hand number 4 in 2468 is now hand number 2, with a change in pattern to pair/pung/pair/pung/kong, a little easier to play with only 2 pairs.
Hand numbers 5 and 6 are gone.
There is now a matching dragon hand; 22 44 666 888 DDDD, one suit, in a pattern to be repeated in consecutive run and 13579. Note: A common thread throughout the card is number pung with dragon kong.
Multiplication is back with two three-suited, four-flower hands: 4x6=24 and 6x8=48.
An old hand, known as "the gate" has returned: Two flowers, kongs of 2s and 8s with pairs of 4s and 6s in the middle.  The hand can be made in 1 or 2 suits.
The closed hand is sui generis: FF 222 44 666 88 88; four pairs at 35 cents.  This is definitely a challenge hand, so beginners beware.

Any Like Numbers
The first hand in like numbers has been tweaked so instead of a kong of flowers, two kongs and a pair, it is now a kong of flowers, two pungs and a kong.  Note: Like pungs appear in like numbers, consecutive run and twice in 369.  
The like numbers with dragon hand is now open in a pair/pung/pair/pung/kong pattern  Note: There is a hand in winds and dragons with dragon pungs.
A third hand has been added in like numbers: FF 1111 NEWS 1111 Note: There are two NEWS hands this year.

Addition Hands
While a hand has been added in like numbers, one has been taken away from addition.  There are three addition hands this year instead of four, all beginning with a pair of flowers and ending with a kong of 7s.  The numbers are 1+6, 2+5 and 3+4.  Hopefully they will be played more than the 2023 addition hands, which seemed forlorn and forgotten.  

The first quint hand on the 2023 card has been tweaked, so  instead of using a kong of winds and two quints of matching numbers, you need non-matching numbers; the example given is 1s and 8s.  So a kong of any wind, and two quints of any non-matching number in 2 suits.  Note:  The non-matching numbers may or may not be consecutive.  Think about it...
The other two quints from 2023 are gone, replaced by three very different quint hands.  The first is two flowers with any consecutive run in 1 suit: quint/pair/quint.
Then you have a hand that is a tweak on a consecutive run hand on the 2023 card, 11 22222 11 22222, any run in any 2 suits.  The consec run hand on the 2023 card reads 111 2222 111 2222, so it is familiar, yet different.
Then, surprisingly, there is another "any" hand - five flowers, kong of any dragon, quint of any number, any two suits.  Note: There are two five-flower hands on the 2024 card. 

Consecutive Run
There are three holdover hands in consecutive run this year, although the patterns have changed.  The classic "these Nos. only" runs are there, although they have done a sort of flip-flop in that the kong in the middle stays but the pairs and pungs that surround them have changed places; i.e., pung/pair/kong/pair/pung.
The "pattern" hand, which shows in second position in 2023 is now in 7th position in 2024 with the pung/pung/kong/kong pattern - still any one or two suits.
Another returning favorite is the "block" hand, formerly position 5, now position 3, with better clarifying language: (Any 1 or 3 suits, Any 3 Consec. Nos.)   
The other hands are gone, although the 111 2222 hand is reborn in Quints.
There are two dragon hands; one a consecutive number pyramid with a kong of opposite dragons, 11 222 DDDD 333 44, the other a one-suit hand with a kong of dragons, 11 22 333 444 DDDDCan someone spell s-w-i-t-c-h?
There is still a flower hand in position 6, but the new hand, instead of four flowers and two pairs, has five flowers, a chow, and two like pungs.  A chow is a grouping of three single tiles in consecutive order, like 123 or 456. The like pungs must be the fourth consecutive number in the second and third suits.  Note: A chow is considered singles and cannot be called for exposure.  Due to the five flowers and singles, it is valued at .30. 
Sadly, the closed hand from 2023 consec. is gone.  It will be missed. It is replaced by a blast from the past, 111 222 111 222 33, a pattern repeated in the closed hand in 369.

There are two holdover hands in odds, but with pattern changes.  The hand in first position has changed to the same pattern used in consecutive, still in one or three suits, only now it's pung/pair/kong/pair/pung.
The "pattern" hand is now pung/pung/kong/kong, a nice go-to if you have the tiles.
Sadly, the "block" hand with 135 and 579 in three suits is gone, but I will always remember it fondly as the "Grace" hand, and will probably still play it in her honor. 
The matching dragon hand has changed to: pair of flowers, pair of 1s, pung of 3s, kong of 5s, pung of matching dragons.  This can also be done in 579.
The opposite dragon hand is now on line 6, with a pair/pair/pung/pung in one suit and a dragon in the second suit.  This can be done in 135 or 579.  Again, pung of a number, kong of a dragon, this time opposite dragon.  Goes well with the consecutive opposite dragon hand.

The four flower hand with pairs and like pungs is gone, replaced by a four flower, three-suited hand in the multiplication style: 3 X 5 =15 or 5 x 7 = 35.  
The three-pair hand with ones and nines is gone, replaced by a well-known three-pair hand using all the odds: 11 33 55 7777 9999.  
Note: Lots of kongs of 7s on this card, so act accordingly.

Lastly, the concealed hand, and even though it is four pungs and one pair, it's valued at 35 for its difficulty.  Picture this:  111 33 555 or 555 77 999 in one suit.  Not so hard, right?  Then you need like pungs of the pair - "these numbers only," so you must have two like pungs of 3s in the second and third suit or the 7s if you're doing 579.  Another challenge hand for sure, valued at .35

Winds and Dragons
The only hand to survive intact in Winds and Dragons is the first hand, a very utilitarian hand in that you can use pungs or kongs of the respective winds.  

A couple of hands have been tweaked, i.e., the last two hands.  The hand with two kongs of dragons still contains two kongs of dragons, but starts with a pair of flowers and uses NEWS in the middle, as opposed to NN E W SS, which makes it an easier hand and valued at .25.  

For those who lobbied for an all-dragon hand, there is a four-flower hand with pung/kong/pung of any dragon.  This replaces the hand with pungs of dragons on the third line in winds on the 2023 card.
The wind hand with the year in the middle is gone.
The four-flower hand has changed to a two-flower hand followed by NN EEE WWW SSSS. 
The hand with winds and consecutive run now is a "sandwich" hand, with kongs of winds and pairs of any 3 consecutive numbers in one suit; i.e., 
NNNN 11 22 33 SSSS or EEEE 11 22 33 WWWW.  More difficult, so worth .30. 

The concealed hand has changed from two consec nos in two suits to two like numbers in two suits, a recent hand brought back for an encore.
That's it for the NEWS.

In 369 the top hand and the block have stayed, with the pattern for the top hand changing to the pung/pung/kong/kong pattern.
The second hand has morphed and become a closed hand, so instead of a pair/pair/pung/pung/kong pattern, you have a three-suit hand with a pung/pung/pung/pung/pair pattern, same as the closed consec. run hand.
All the other hands are gone.
There are two new dragon hands: 333 DDDD 333 DDDD, again number pung with dragon kong, matching OR opposite.  The number can be like 3s, 6s, or 9s with matching dragons.    The second dragon hand in the category calls for four flowers, a pair of 3s, a pair of 6s, a pung of 9s in one suit and a pung of opposite dragons.  Note:  Think twice about exposing a pung of 9s and a pung of an opposite dragon, as there would be no other hand...
There is also a hand with like pungs of 3, 6 or 9: FF 3 66 999 333 333.  Note:  Like pungs can be found in like numbers or consecutives and twice in 369, so don't jump to conclusions when you see them. 
There is also a sandwich hand thrown in there which uses pairs of sixes in three suits in between matching kongs of 3s and 9s.  This hand will be useful for switching in the category. 

Singles and Pairs
Out with the old, in with the new.  Not one of the singles and pairs hands has carried over to the 2024 card, and that includes the "big" hand.  There is still a pairs hand for every category, though, and 2468 has the top slot with an old favorite using two flowers, and 22 46 88 in two suits.
The 13579 hand is two flowers with pairs of 1, 3, 5 in one suit, and 5,7,9 in the second suit.
Seasoned players will jump for joy - the much beloved 998 99887 998877 hand is back, along with its companion, 112 11223 112233, in three suits. 
The 369 hand is brand new.  A pair of flowers followed by 33 66 99 in one suit, followed by 369 369 in the second and third suit.  Another challenge hand, but if the tiles speak, you must answer.
Lest you think dragons were forgotten, there is a pairs hand with five pairs of consecutive numbers in one suit, followed by two pairs of opposite dragons in the second and third suit.  Another brand new, never-before-seen hand.
And, lastly, there is a "big" hand, worth .75, a combo of winds and the year:
2024 NN EW SS 2024 in any two suits. 

So for you new or seasoned players, get ready for another year of play, and may your transition be an easy one!


  1. This is a fantastic write-up! I had to read it aloud to make sure my comprehension was on point. One thing I did notice, however, is the very last hand on the card - the “big hand”…….it doesn’t have FF as you stated. It’s just
    2024 NN EW SS 2024. I appreciate your explanation of the new card!! 👏🏼🀄️

    1. Thanks for catching that! I will make that correction.

    2. No flowers stated for big hand. Must have misread. All good

    3. Must have corrected before I read. Still all good

  2. Thank you for this! Looks like some fun hands!

  3. Thank you for this fine summary. Grace always coveted you and your Friday night gals. You are someone she always spoke kindly of and cherished.

  4. Thank you for this very concise explanation of the 2024 card - and my first idea of what to expect - interesting!!!

  5. Thank you so much for your excellent analysis. I found it very helpful.