Guess who just graduated Mahjong classes?! That's right, this girl. I am now an official Hong Kong local and you'll hardly recognize me as I blend in with all the old men in the park playing Maj on old stools.
I took a four week course through the American Women's Association club that I joined. Being a huge fan of anything game board related I immediately signed up. This game isn't for those easily distracted though as there are about 1 billion rules and you have to learn all the different tiles and Chinese characters. Originated in China during the Qing Dynasty, this is "THE" game of Asia, especially with the older generation.
It is a four player game with 144 tiles and you'll find that the rules vary depending on what generation or country. Long story short, you have to learn all the different customs and think quickly or else you're that silly Westerner. The goal is to call Mahjong by having a completed set of tiles in a "run". I'm not going to even go into the types of runs you can have to win...basically, you need at least a run with 3 points to call Mahjong. And man, does it feel good to good to win because then you're the East direction for another round (and friends, you want to be East).
Now that I can be competitive with another board game, all I need is to buy a Maj set to be a true player. These sets are cheap either, I tried to bargain for a gold glitter set (duh) and I was only able to get it down to $720HK...that's still 93 US buckeroos!! Eh, maybe I'll have to actually venture to the Kowloon side. . . whomp whomp.
Until then, maybe you'll find me strolling the parks and taking betting with the locals.