Mahjong Quick Reference Sheet

I’ve been playing mahjong since 2012. I love the game, but I didn’t own a set until last year when a friend gifted me one.

Before I had a set, I got a few friends together and taught them to play Classical Chinese mahjong through Julian Bradfield’s mahjong programs. It was great and we had a lot of fun playing. The program helped them learn by giving English tooltips on the tiles and disallowing illegal actions. When playing with real tiles, though, we don’t have that luxury.

I couldn’t find a good reference sheet online, so I made one. It’s inspired by the table on Wikipedia. I replaced some of the terms with ones that I usually use (e.g. “Arrows” was changed to “Dragons”) and replaced the images with Unicode characters. The three tile calls and their definitions are also included below the table.

Mahjong quick reference sheet

This reference sheet is intended for Chinese Classical mahjong, but since Chinese Classical is the most basic of versions, it can be adapted to teach the basics of any version.

This reference sheet is also available as a PDF, a 4-up PDF, and as an ODT.

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4 comments
  1. I don’t play mahjong, but this looks like a great “cheat sheet” for those who do. I tend to glaze over when I see all those tiles with Chinese characters on them.

    • I don’t play either, but I would like to learn.
      I wish someone would send me a set.
      : )

      • If you’ve ever played rummy, it’s similar. Your basic aim is to get four sets (the three listed at the bottom of the sheet) and a pair. The Mahjong Wiki has an alright basic guide, but the best way to learn is to just play. Sorry, I can’t send you a set, but if you use Windows or Linux (or Mac if you know how to compile stuff), Julian Bradfield’s mahjong programs (linked in the post) is a great place to start, and you can start by playing against three bots. I know you like anime, so I’ll also recommend Saki if you’re interested in watching some epic Japanese mahjong play (you’ll enjoy it even if you don’t know how to play).

    • Thanks. I’ve heard that playing mahjong is a good way to learn to recognize your Chinese numbers, at least from 1 to 9. There are sets that come with Arabic numerals engraved on them, most notably the American sets, but it’s better and not that hard to just learn to recognize the tiles.

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