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Question: What is Atomic? Is this another version of the game?

Answer: Playing Atomic is not another version of the game but adds additional ways to make a hand. These hands are considered House Rules and not condoned by the National Mah Jongg League. There are two ways Atomic hands can be played, one which allows Pairs only and one which allows a combo of Pairs and Pungs.  Regardless of which you choose following are the most common rules used:

Common Atomic House Rules:

  1. You can play Atomic if after the deal, you have no Flowers or Jokers.
  2. You must announce that you are playing “Atomic” and an Atomic tile or coin is placed on top of the player’s rack to remind everyone who is playing Atomic.
  3. Depending on the House Rule set, you may or may not be able to pass Flowers to the Atomic Player during the Charleston. For those that allow the passing of Flowers, the Atomic player must pass that Flower on.
  4. If during the game you pick a Flower or Joker, you must announce that you are no long playing “Atomic” and remove your Atomic tile or coin indicator.

The two types of hands are as follows:

Pairs Only:

  1. Any combination of 7 unique pairs.
  2. Kongs are considered pairs so you can have up to three Kongs and a Pair.
    • Examples:  4444 6666 9999 88 or 22 99 55 11 DD EE SS

Pairs and Pungs:

  1. Up to four Pungs and a Pair
    • Examples: 333 666 777 999 DD or 555 666 77 99 EE WW

See also ID53, The League on House Rules


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