American Modern > Introduction
Four Winds Rule Collection –
These rules represent the modern American Mah Jong, where the winning hand may not
contain mixed suits nor more than one Chow. The emphasis is on collecting special
hands (the rules acknowledge over 50 different special hands, many of which are
irregular). In addition, the American rules use typically four (or eight) jokers, and
apply Charleston (exchange of tiles) at the start of each deal.
Several very different versions are played in the United States.
E.g., the Mah Jong rules of the National Mah Jong League have abandoned Chows
altogether and allow Quints (five identical tiles). In addition, all acknowledged hands are irregular and change
yearly. The payoff scheme resembles that of the modern Chinese Mah Jong (as the
losers pay double if the winner goes out self-drawn, while if the winning tile
is a discard, only the discarder pays double and other losers pay normally), and
there are no payments between losers.
The rules presented in Four Winds rule collection are more
classically oriented and represent a sort of a middle way between the extremes: while
using the typical American features (prohibition of mixed suits and
allowing a maximum of 1 Chow in a winning hand, use of jokers and Charleston,
and acknowledgment of dozens of special hands), the scoring, payments and other rules are still based on
the classical Chinese game.