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ID50-Setting up the Game-Determining East Player
Question: How do set up a Mah Jongg game?
Answer: Before setting up the game, East must be determined. If someone hosts a game, they are usually the first East player. If the game is at an outside venue, there are a few different ways to choose the East player however the most common way is for all players’ to roll the dice. The player with the highest number shown on the dice becomes East. Once East is defined here the steps for setup:
- All tiles are placed faced down in the center and thoroughly mixed.
- All players build a two-tier wall in front of themselves, with each tier being 19 tiles across.
- East pushes out his wall, breaks the wall by counting the number shown on East’s dice from both tiers.
- The portion of the broken wall is held back again East’s wall in the exact position from where it came. This portion of the wall will be the last tile used should the game not end before needing them.
- Each player picks a grouping of 4 tiles from the top and bottom tier in a counterclockwise (to the right) manner until all players’ have three sets of 4 tiles for a total of 12 tiles.
- East then picks their last two tiles, the 1st and third tiles from the top tier, and all other players’ take the next tile available. East now has 14 tiles, and all other players’ have 13.
- East begins the game discarding their 14th tile but does not pick. Now all players have the same number of tiles as does East.
Source: Mah Jongg Made Easy (2020 page 9 para. 2, 10, 11 para. 1)