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ID131- Game with 14 Tiles or Picking Ahead
Question: I was invited to play in a 14-Tile game but declined because I am a newer player and I was told it is a fast game. What exactly is a 14-Tile game?
Answer: A 14-Tile game or what is considered, Picking Ahead, is played with every player starting out with 14 tiles as opposed to 14 tiles for East only and 13 tiles for all other players. Instead of picking and discarding, you discard and then pick. Your 14th tile rather than being discarded during a 13-Tile game is already in your rack.
This version of the game goes much faster as there is no picking in advance when it is your turn. Thus, you do not have to decide whether you want to keep the tile or discard it. Once you discard and then pick your tile, you basically have until your next turn to decide on your discard.
There is one major drawback with this version of the game. If you happen to discard and then pick in your winning Mah Jongg Tile (which is the 14th tile), you cannot declare Mah Jongg until your next turn. If pick your Mah Jongg tile, and someone else is sitting with Mah Jongg before it gets to your turn, they would get the win and not you.
The National Mah Jongg League does not condone a 14 tile game, which was abolished in 1947. It is included as a rule on the back of the National Mah Jongg Card as, “1. NO PICKING OR LOOKING AHEAD.”
See also ID53, The League on House Rules
Source: Latest mention of 14-Tile play was in the 2005 National Mah Jongg League Bulletin