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ID170-Flower and Joker History in American Mah Jongg
Changes In Our Tile Sets
American Mah Jongg has evolved since the standardization of rules by the National Mah Jongg League in 1937, with annual rule updates and changes in the number of Flowers and Jokers.
Originally. the League treated Flowers as Jokers also referred to as “Wild Flowers.” Then, beginning with the 1943 card, more Flowers were added to make hands more challenging and to increase the luck factor.
Jokers were not introduced into American Mah Jongg until 1961. Between 1961 and 1971, the number of Jokers fluctuated between 8 and 24 tiles. Finally on the 1971-72 card they stabilized to the 8 Flowers and 8 Jokers included in our game today.
Below is an overview of the changes made to the tile sets regarding Flowers and Jokers:
YEAR FLOWERS JOKERS
1960-62 14F 2J
1962-66 12F 4J
1966-67 8F 6J
1967-68 10F 6J
1968-71 6F 8J
1971-Present 8F 8J