Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lets talk about Mah Jongg and Food!

I'm getting ready for an afternoon of play here at my house.  As hostess...for a game that starts at 1PM and goes until about 5PM...I usually make one dessert, coffee, tea, some cold drinks for those who don't drink coffee..and have some snacks on the playing table.

Because we'll be 5 today, there'll be no 'eating together'....the dessert is out, the coffee made, drinks on the counter with ice for those who want.  When you're the bettor, it's also your turn to snack.  This way we get a full 4 hours of Mah Jongg!  So important for those of us who have the addiction.

So here's the dessert for today....looks fussy..but it's really not.  As long as you have a pastry bag....
Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes

That's chocolate ganache piped into holes you cut out of the center. There's Guinness in the chocolate cupcake, and Bailey's in the ganache and the frosting.

It's really a snap with the pastry bag...and I pipe the frosting on, too. Much easier than spreading. These are very rich...but yummy for chocolate lovers!

I also play in an evening game where we have dinner first and sometimes play into the wee that's another story!

Monday, June 20, 2011

So here's the answer:

One of your opponents exposes:  888

These are the only 4 hands he could be playing:

The obvious:  55 666 7777 888 99
or in the same section (consecutive run)
11 22 111 222 DDDD  (using 7's and 8's ...or 8's and 9's)

Or like numbers:  11 DD 111 DDD 1111 (using 8's)

Or...the hardest to find under Winds - Dragons:

EEEE WWWW  222 222   (with 8's of course) a hard hand because you need at least 2 jokers!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Learning to read your opponents exposures

One of your opponents calls for a tile and exposes a pung of dragons.
What hand is she playing?  This is the easiest exposure to read on the 2011 card.

There is only one hand on this year's card that contains a pung of dragons. 
11 DD  111 DDD 1111
Now you just have to determine which number the player is using.
Watch what numbers she throws.  Notice which numbers are going out.

You might be able to figure out which number before she calls for another tile to make a second exposure.

Of course other exposures are not quite so easy.  Very often a first exposure does little more than to help you narrow it down to a section of the card.
Its the second exposure that really helps you.  When that is made you need to focus on the section of the card that has those combination.

Some exposures are delightfully enigmatic.  Even after the second exposure it could be two or more different hands.  For example:

222 and 444
This could be a 2468 hand (  222 444 6666 8888)
....or a consecutive numbers hand (11 222 3333 444 55)

333  and   5555   
Could be a consecutive numbers hand 
(333 444 5555 6666   or  222 333 4444 5555)
....or the second hand under 13579  (111 333 3333 5555)
...and there is one more hand it could be...
11 333 5555 777 99

So here's a challenge for you:
your opponent exposes a pung of 8s:  888
There are just 4 hands that this exposure could be.
Can you find them?  Post your answers in the comment section below. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On the Road with the Doctors

When the Mah Jongg Doctors leave their practice for a week, what do they do?

We once organized a Mah Jongg cruise.  Just a 5 day cruise from NYC along the eastern Atlantic coast to St. John, New Brunswick, Canada and back.  Not an 'official' Mah Jongg cruise, but just 5 women who wanted to relax, be waited on, and play Mah Jongg all day....
It was wonderful.  Our biggest challenge was finding the right size table for play.  This cruise line (Carnival) didn't have the game rooms that some ships have.  We could only find 'square' tables in the very tiny library...and there were only 3 of them.  So if they were occupied, we had to go to the cafeteria and make do with a slightly oblong table.  More about the importance of table size in another post.

This summer we're traveling to the Finger Lakes in central NY.  We've rented a house on Owasco Lake for a week.  Again there are 5 of us.  We've already determined that the dining table at the house is too long...but there is a bridge table available.  We'll swim, sun, and play Mah Jongg.  This is also a great area for antiquing. And what do we look for?  Vintage Mah Jongg sets, of course!