Four Winds Rule Collection Chinese Classical

Introduction

These rules represent the classical Chinese Mah Jong as it was played by experts and intellectually oriented players in the second decade of the 20th century. The classical rules are considered by many as the "true" form of Mah Jong: a balanced result of a development that lasted several decades and during which the rules and scoring reached their perfection, and also, a form of Mah Jong that is pure of additions of the later versions, which sometimes make the game unnecessarily complex or over-emphasize the element of luck (and accordingly, gambling aspects of the game).

However, the classical rules are seldom used in China of today (few are even aware of this playing style), and the modern Chinese variations, mostly developed outside of mainland China, where Mah Jong was suppressed for decades, have abandoned many features of the classical game, e.g., point scoring for basic sets, the payment scheme where East receives and pays double, payments between the losers, etc. The modern rules have also introduced a number of new scoring patterns and a payment scheme which rewards a player for going out on a self-drawn tile (the winner's scores are doubled in this case), and penalizes a player who discards the winning tile (though not as radically as in the Japanese rules where the discarder pays for all losers in Chinese modern rules discarder just pays twice as much as the other losers). 

Paradoxically the classical Chinese rules continue to have adherents in the Western world, mainly in European countries, where the classical rules are still often included in the Mah Jong tile sets that can be bought from stores and Chinese shops. These rules (embodied in Four Winds rule collection as European Classical), however, represent the Shanghai or Cantonese popular forms of Mah Jong, where scoring is slightly simplified. They are well suited to learning the game, but miss some of the details of Chinese Classical rules, which make the game more interesting and challenging.

The features of the Chinese Classical rules that are often omitted or modified in the later versions still considered classical are listed below:

Related topics:
Tiles
Preliminaries
Playing
Miscellaneous
Scoring
Payments