Special tiles Jokers
Jokers are often used in the modern American Mah Jong and
sometimes also in the modern Chinese Mah Jong. Usually the number of jokers is four and
they can be used to replace any regular tile, though often the use of jokers is restricted
in certain ways.
To include the Jokers in the game:
- Choose Preferences on the File menu.
- From the Rule Presets list, choose a customized rule preset.
- Choose General under the Rules section of the category
- Check the Jokers box.
- To specify options for the use of jokers, click the Options button.
In addition to the Number of jokers (4 or 8), Four Winds lets you
specify the following options in the Jokers dialog box:
- Allow jokers in Chows. If checked, allows jokers in Chows (besides Pungs and Kongs). In some rules jokers are allowed in Pungs
and Kongs only, in which case you should disable this option. Most rules using jokers allow jokers to represent any tile,
but some American rules may apply
restrictions to use of jokers.
Note: Suit series in irregular hands are not considered as Chows, but
as a series of single tiles. So if you allow
jokers in Chows, but do not allow them as single tiles and as part of pairs,
you cannot use jokers in irregular hands like Wriggling Snake, Peking
Garden, Royal Chows, etc.
- Allow jokers in pairs and as single tiles. If checked, allows jokers in pairs and
as substitutes of any single tiles (e.g., in irregular hands like Thirteen Orphans).
In some rules jokers are allowed in Pungs and Kongs only, in which case you should disable
this option. Most rules using jokers allow jokers to represent any tile, but
some American rules may apply restrictions to use of jokers.
- Allow maximum of 4 identical tiles in hand. If checked, does not
let players to go out on a hand that has more than four identical tiles.
Declaration of sets is prohibited, as well, if a player already has more
than 4 identical tiles in hand (e.g., if a player has melded a Chow of
Bamboo 6-7-8 and a Pung of Bamboo 6's where one of the tiles is a joker, and
he has Bamboo 4 and 5 in hand, he is not allowed to claim a discarded Bamboo
- Deal jokers between players in dealt hand. If checked, deals jokers to each of
the players in the dealt hand. E.g., if 4 jokers are used, each player will receive one joker
in the dealt hand. When this option is enabled, the jokers cannot be
- Accept melded jokers in completing combination only. If checked, allows the use
of jokers in melded combinations only if the melded set completes the hand. This means
that jokers cannot be used in Kongs (since Kong can never complete the hand). This option
is often used together with the Deal jokers between players in dealt hand
- Auto-assign value of a discarded joker. If checked, the computer
automatically gives a discarded joker the value of the last discarded tile (or Bamboo 1
in the case a joker is the first discard). Four Winds will change the value
automatically (even if the discarded joker already has a tile value). If not
checked, you must assign a tile value to the joker before discarding it. You
can do that by pressing down the ALT key and selecting the desired tile from
the tile palette (if you use keyboard, first lift up the tile whose value
you want to specify, then press and hold down the ALT and specify the value
for the tile by using the arrow keys).
Note: The option cannot be used with pre-dealt jokers, since
pre-dealt jokers cannot be discarded.
- Allow replacing melded jokers with regular tiles. If checked,
allows a player to replace a joker that appears amongst another player's melded tiles
with an equivalent regular tile in his hand. E.g., if player A has a melded Pung of
Red Dragons, one of the tiles being a joker, another player can use the Red Dragon in his hand to replace it with the melded joker. This rule
is used by default in American Modern rule
preset, and forces you to consider carefully whether it is wise to use
jokers in melded sets. To grab a joker, place your mouse cursor over a melded joker (the shape of the cursor changes to indicate that the tile can
be replaced), then click the tile. On keyboard, you must first lift a
regular tile that matches another player's melded joker and then press J.
Note: The option cannot be used if melded jokers are allowed only on
going out. Note too that grabbing a joker is not allowed during the
Charleston or Ding Dong.
- Auto-assign unspecified jokers in losers hand. If checked, the unspecified
jokers in losers hand are evaluated automatically at the time of point calculation
(the jokers that appear in melded sets and the jokers in the hand which have been
assigned a tile value are not re-evaluated). If disabled, the program waits for
losers to specify their jokers before starting the point calculation. Though this makes
the game (especially a multi-player game) slower, it may be a good idea to use this option
in order to guarantee the best possible scoring.
Note: When the automatic joker evaluation is turned off, the program
displays a message box asking you to specify your jokers. After closing the message box,
you have approximately 60 seconds time to specify the jokers. If you are ready earlier,
click the Done button on the Status bar (the
same button as Out, but the label is changed).
Scoring for jokers
Four Winds has two scoring items specific to jokers. In the Winning category of
the Scoring list (on the Sets and Patterns option page under the Scoring
section of the category tree) you can specify the points the winner receives for
No jokers (i.e., no jokers appear in the hand nor in the melded
Assigning a value to a joker
You can assign a value to a joker tile appearing in the hand by pressing and holding
down the ALT key and pointing the desired tile in the tile palette. If you prefer
to use the keyboard, first lift up the tile whose value you wish to specify, then press
and hold down the ALT key and use the arrow keys to specify the tile.
When a joker tile has been assigned a tile value, it has a triangle mark on the
bottom right corner.
Note: If you want to declare a Kong
and you have jokers in hand, you
must have jokers specified before being able to make the declaration.
This does not apply to claimed Kongs, since in this case it is obvious, which tile
is used for the Kong.
Flowers and Seasons
Omit Bamboo tiles