Mahjong, Mah Jongg, Majiang – regardless of the spelling, mah jongg is a Chinese tile game of skill, strategy, and luck whose name translates roughly to “sparrow.” Some people say that the game was created around 500 BC but the earliest archeological evidence dates back to the 1880s. There are several legends as to the originators of the game including Taiping Rebellion soldiers, a Chinese princess, a Shanghai aristocrat, two Ningbo brothers, and even Confucius. We’ll never know but it’s fascinating just the same.
In 1923, travelers brought the game to Europe. Americans first saw the game in the early 1920s. It became a fad in the 1920s then wained until 1937 when a group of women enthusiasts met in New York, NY, to standardize the game so that everyone could follow the same rules and hands. It was at this meeting that the National Mah Jongg League, otherwise known as the NMJL, was formed by four women and the basis of the 152-tile game played today. The National Mah Jongg League now has over 350,000 members and continues to dedicate its time to the creative and social aspects of the game.
The 152-tile American version game consists of a variety of tiles, including Chinese characters and symbols, as well as flowers and jokers. The game is played with a three-section card that is printed annually and contains new hands. Although the card shows approximately 64 hands, around 700 total hand variations can be won.
Some people liken the game of mah jongg to the game of Rummy or Bridge because it is a pick and discard game that includes exposures similar to melds. Mah jongg is played with 13 tiles; however, it is the fourteenth tile that wins the game. The traditional game is played with four players, although other variations exist. A player wins a game when he has completed a hand on the card. Each hand on the card is like a puzzle, with each opponent vying for the same pieces.
The popularity of Mah Jongg has reached a new level, especially with the development of technology and computerized games. People around the globe enjoy many variations of the game and it is enjoyed by both men and women, young and old.
MahjCon was born as a means to bring like-minded mah jongg enthusiasts together who want to celebrate their shared passion for the game with others. Our conferences will include a variety of activities and speaker sessions that will be informative, educational, inspiring, and fun! The addition of socials and social gaming will bring the comradery of the game to life in an exciting environment. We will also have sponsors and exhibitors who will showcase their mah jongg related products and services. Together, we will provide the community with an enriching program that will benefit all levels of play and all areas of interest.