Rule presets

Classification of rules

The Chinese Classical represents Mah Jong as it was played in China in the beginning of the 20th century (the default rule preset of Four Winds, European Classical, represents a slightly simpler version from the same or perhaps a slightly earlier period). 

The rules of Mah Jong have never been standardized, and the game has always been rich of variations, but during the last seven or eight decades Mah Jong  has experienced very radical changes, partly as a result of becoming popular all over the world and taking influence of similar games played in other cultures, but also because the game was officially banned in its home country for decades, and accordingly lost its roots for a long time. 

Today the classical game is virtually unknown in Asian countries and the modern competing variations often differ greatly from each other, partially explained by the fact that the rules have been shaped in the hands of gamblers. On the other hand, in Western countries (especially in Europe) the game is still clearly based on classical rules, though several additions foreign to the original game have also been introduced. Until recently there has not been much dialogue between the competing forms of Mah Jong, and the game has continued to develop in several different directions, resulting in endless local variations.

However, it is possible to classify the different versions by comparing certain key elements. Based on these factors the major three categories (deriving from the Chinese Classical as the root category) are Chinese Modern, Japanese and Western rules. The following sections describe the new features and major deviations (regarding its parent) of each rule version.

Root: Chinese Classical

A. Chinese Modern

1.  Chinese Old Style
1.1  Chinese New Style
1.2  Taiwanese
2.  Chinese Official

B. Japanese

1.  Japanese Classical
1.1  Japanese Transitional
1.2  Japanese Modern

C. Other Asian Rules

These rules typically combine features of Chinese and Japanese Mah Jong. 

1.  Internet Mahjong Server (IMS) and Mahjong Masters Million (MMM)
2.  World Mahjong Player Association (WMPA) Rules
3.  Korean

D. Western

In Western Mah Jong the classical point-double scoring plan is still used, and as in the classical Chinese game, East always pays and receives double and losers settle scoring according to the difference of their final scores.

1.  American Classical
1.1  American Modern
1.2.  Australian
2.  European national variations

Related topics:
Alan's Zung Jung
American Classical
American Modern
British Official
Chinese Classical
Chinese New Style
Chinese Official
Chinese Transitional
Dutch League rules
EMA Riichi Rules
European Classical
Hong Kong Mah Jong
Internet Mahjong Server
Italian Official
Japanese Classical
Japanese Transitional
Japanese Modern
Korean Style
Mahjong Masters Million
Taiwanese 16-Tile Mah Jong
Wilmington Advanced 12-Tile rules
WMPA Rules
Comparison table