The Deal

Traditionally the game starts with rather complicated preliminaries: e.g., the players throw the dice several times in order to determine the seat order, the first dealer (East) and to determine the place where the Wall is to be broken (this position is called the dominant Wind). Though the dealer is selected in Four Winds simply by a random number generator, and the Wall is but an array of variables, the idea of this ceremonial deal has been retained in the program by simulating it in algorithms.

After the player’s positions (i.e., their winds during the deal) have been determined and the Wall has been built and broken (the breaking point indicating where the first tile is to be dealt), the deal starts.

Each player is dealt thirteen tiles, except the dealer, who receives fourteen tiles.

The tiles are dealt counter-clockwise in sets of four so that the dealer (East) gets the first four tiles, then each of the other players receives four tiles in order South, West, and North. This is repeated three times. Then the dealer gets two tiles (this is called chan-chan because of the clicking noise caused when picking up the tiles), after which others are dealt one tile each.

If the Show Deal command on the Options menu is checked, the deal is animated. Otherwise the players’ dealt hands are displayed immediately.

The Wall and the Dead Wall

After the deal is completed, there are 83 tiles (or more, if Flowers and Seasons or jokers are used) left to play. You can see the number of tiles left in the Wall in the Tiles Left Indicator located on the status bar. Traditionally the 14 tiles to the right of the breaking point of the Wall are designated as a Dead Wall (also known as Garden Wall, Flower Wall, or Kong box). The remaining 69 tiles (or more, if extra tiles are used) comprise the Wall.

If a game board with separate views is used and the Show Wall on deal option is checked on the Gameplay option page (under the User Interface section in the category tree of the Preferences dialog box), the Wall window is displayed while the deal is going on and you can see how the Wall is broken at the start of the deal and how the tiles are taken from the Wall as they are dealt to the players. To display or hide the Wall window during the game, choose Wall Window on the View menu, or press the equivalent shortcut key (CTRL+W).

You can also force showing the contents of the Wall and Dead Wall after the deal is over by checking the Expose Wall after deal is over box on the the Gameplay option page.

Replacing the Flowers and Season

If the Flowers and/or Seasons are used in the game, all Flower and Season tiles received in the dealt hand are immediately replaced with a supplement tile. This is repeated until all players’ hands consist of regular tiles only. Replacing is done in the regular playing order (East, South, West, North) before the first move.

Related topics:
Goal of the game
Regular tiles
Extra tiles
Regular pace of the game
Declaring a melded Kong
Declaring a concealed Kong
Robbing a Kong
Declaring Ready
Going out
Deal ends in a Draw
Faulty declaration of Out