So, here's an interesting question from a reader. The Mah Jongg doctors had to confer on this one....but we have the answer!
A player wanted to know if she could make the consecutive hand FFFF 1111 2222 DD using soaps for zero and the number one. What she argues is that the numbers are consecutive, that is, zero precedes the number one.
1. A white dragon is used as zero only as a single digit as part of a larger number and as 0000 in the extended year hand: FFFF 2222 0000 11.
2. The consecutive number hands all start with the number one on the card. If zero were an option, then it would be shown that way on the card. ie. FFFF 0000 1111 DD This would also change the play of many of the hands under consecutive numbers.
3. When the dragon is used as zero, it has no specific suit. Therefore, there is no opposite or matching suit to be used in the consecutive hands. For example, if you played 11 22 111 222 DD with zeros as 00 11 000 111 DD....and used white dragons as the pair, what would you use for the pung of zeros?
3. In all instances the card addresses unique situations for use of the tiles. In absence of such information, we assume that soap is ONLY used as zero in the cases that are specifically mentioned on the card. This year, that would be in the 'year' hands as zero in 2011 and also in the last hand under Singles and Pairs.
In years past, we've seen it used in multiplication and addition hands that require 10, 20 or 30. For example: FFFF 5555 x 6666 = 30. But again, in this instance it's used as part of another number.
We hope this answers the question, and if anyone out there has any other input, please let us know!