Four Winds Rule Collection – Chinese Old Style
4. Miscellaneous rules
The following rules can be considered optional.
The etiquette for correct drawing and claiming of tiles may vary, as may the
consequences for violating the etiquette. Basically the irregularities which
have no effect on other players should have no consequences in friendly games. To
avoid confusion, the players should agree on the etiquette and penalties before
beginning the game.
In the following some common practices are listed:
- If a player notices that he has too many tiles in hand,
and has already seen the face of the superfluous tile, he must continue playing
with a long hand to the end of the deal (thus being deprived of the chance to go
out). If he has not seen the face of the tile, he can put the tile back in the
- If a player notices that he has too few tiles in hand, he must
continue playing with a short hand to the end of the deal (thus being deprived
of the chance to go out).
- If a player mistakenly draws an incorrect tile, he can replace it and draw the
correct tile, provided that he has not yet discarded. If he has already
discarded, he may not replace the tile, but can continue without penalties.
- A player is allowed to change his discard as long as another player has
not claimed the tile, and as long as the next player in turn has not drawn from
- If a player claims a tile, but cancels his claim before his next
discard is claimed (or another player has drawn from the Wall), there is no need
to penalize him for his mistake.
- Also, if a player claims a tile for Chow, Pung or Kong, but notices that he
does not have right tiles in hand, he is allowed
to cancel his claim without consequences, provided that he does that before his next discard is claimed (or another player has drawn from the Wall).
- If a player makes a faulty declaration of out, but notices his
error before the other players expose their hands, there is no need to penalize
him for his error. On the other hand, if one or more players have already
exposed their hands, the deal is abandoned and the offender shall pay each
of the other players 100% of the Limit (i.e., full laak, which in the rules
described here is 16 points). If the faulty declaration was made in
context of a claimed tile, the discarder gets double the amount. The deal
normally passes after a faulty declaration of out.
4.2 Insurance penalties
Players often agree on applying insurance penalties for irresponsible
discards, that is, for dangerous discards that let another player go out on a
big hand (this is often called "letting off a canon").
Insurance penalties are normally applied for the following hands:
- One Suit Only (also known as "Nine-tile error"). Applied
when player A has exposed three sets of one suit, and another player
discards a tile of the same suit, which enables player A to go out with One
(immediately on that tile, or later with a self-drawn tile after having
composed the fourth set of the same suit by claiming player A's dangerous
- Big Four Winds or Little Four Winds. Applied when player A has
exposed three sets of winds, and another player discards a wind tile, which
enables player A to go out with Big Four Winds or Little Four
Winds (immediately on that tile, or later – after having composed the
fourth set of winds with player A's dangerous discard – with any
tile, either claimed or self-drawn).
- Three Great Scholars (Big Three Dragons) or Little Three Dragons. Applied
when player A has exposed two sets of dragons, and another player discards a
dragon tile, which enables player A to go out with Three Great Scholars
(Big Three Dragons) or Little Three Dragons (immediately on that tile, or
later – after having composed the third set of dragons with player A's
dangerous discard – with any tile, either claimed or self-drawn).
- Last Five Tiles error. Applied when there are five or less tiles
left in the Wall, and a player discards a fresh tile (which does not appear
amongst discards and melds), which another player claims and goes out.
- Often the insurance penalty is applied to the limit hands All Honors
and All Terminals, as well.
Note that letting another player rob a Kong that involves a dangerous tile is
considered the same as discarding a dangerous tile, and accordingly penalized in
the same way.
Claiming a dangerous discard for a Kong does not result in applying insurance
penalties (since in this case a player already had that dangerous set completed
as a concealed Pung – promoting this set into a melded Kong does not
necessarily bring the hand any closer to winning).
Often it is agreed that a player can declare "No Choice", if he has no other choice than
making a dangerous discard. In this case he must expose his hand temporarily,
and he will not be penalized for making a dangerous discard.
A player who is liable for "letting off a canon" must pay for all
losers (that is, not only for himself, but also for the other two players). In
addition, there is no settlement among losers.