U3A Wroxham Mahjong Group:

We are looking for a new leader of this group:


Chairman: John Long, 01603 722254 Secretary: Sue Badger 01603 737572
Membership Secretary: Marlene Corke 01603 781012

The Game of Mahjong

Game of Mahjong

The game of Mahjong, thought to originate from a Chinese game played with cards, is now played in many countries around the world. The first mahjong sets as we know them, were imported into the United States in the 1920’s by Abercrombie and Fitch.  In 1949 the government of the People’s Republic of China banned the game, as gambling activities were regarded as symbols of capitalist corruption. After the Cultural Revolution, the game was revived without gambling and later the prohibition revoked in 1985. The game is now extremely popular in both China and Japan.

There are several versions of the game which can be conceivably divided into two main groups, Western and Chinese types. The Chinese game tends towards ‘get out quick’ hands whilst the Western versions play restricted and higher scoring hands. This is undoubtedly connected with the fact that the Chinese game is generally played for money whilst the Western game is played for points only.

Mahjong can be played with 3 or 4 people. Each player is allocated a ‘wind’ hence ‘Game of Four Winds’ is amongst the games several titles. There are 144 tiles in the set, comprising 3 different suits plus wind, dragon, flower and season tiles. Each mahjong hand comprises 14 tiles (plus bonus tiles). The object of the game is to complete a set hand (similar to the card game of Rummy).  The game begins with the shuffling of the tiles called ‘the twittering of the sparrows’. There are several points of etiquette to follow when building the wall of tiles and discarding, such as closing the wall before play to discourage bad spirits.

The game can be challenging for beginners, (in fact, studies in Hong Kong have shown that ‘mahjong therapy’ is beneficial for those with cognitive memory difficulties) however it is not long before every thing falls into place. You will find that you can concentrate on the game whilst simultaneously enjoying a conversation!

We are a friendly, social little group. We would truly welcome new players both experienced and completely new to the game. Currently we play at my house in Tunstead on a Friday morning at 10.00am until around 1.00pm. For beginners, I can offer lessons and handouts on all aspects of the game, including scoring. The 4 lessons that I start beginners off with could potentially be arranged on another day. There is no outlay for equipment though you may later wish to buy a book of the different Mahjong hands.

If you are interested in joining us, please email Carol Hodgkiss at carol_hodgkiss@hotmail.com or phone 01603929368 for more information.