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A Mah Jong Handbook: How to Play, Score, and Win [Paperback]

Eleanor Noss Whitney
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 15 2007
A Mah Jong Handbook gives beginners and enthusiasts a first-hand look into the exciting game of mah jong. Offering a clear and concise introduction to the classic Chinese, Western, and Japanese rules of the game and outlining its many variants, this comprehensive guidebook will help you to improve your skills and add strategy to your game.


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Review

"A convenient guide, simply written and easily understood, for achieving proficiency in this Oriental game."—Asia Scene

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfaction Guaranteed!!!!!!!!! Sept. 6 2001
Format:Paperback
Eleanor Noss Whitney has not only succeeded in writing a concise, understandable, and comprehensive Mah Jong handbook, she has elegantly and expertly distilled into a mere 176 pages the essential tools and strategies to achieve true mastery of this ancient and wonderful game.
Whitney's handbook is the only book that most players will ever need to become a knowledgeable, confident and winning Mah Jong player. The basics of play, including seating, dealer selection, wall-building, tile-dealing and play are laid out clearly with helpful examples and good illustrations. The scoring of Mah Jong is explained with numerous carefully-constructed examples, with helpful diagrams of each tile scenario for good visual reference.
The strategy of the game is brilliantly explained in Part III, again with numerous examples that gradually train beginning players how to quickly make strategic decisions to enhance their play. As Whitney explains, Mah Jong is a game governed by sheer luck of the draw, yet the "skillful player is actually one who knows how to adapt to his luck." Her extensive explanations and examples of both "offensive" and "defensive" strategies are the soul of the book, and I, for one, was amazed how quickly my comphrehension of the game improved after having read the entire chapter.
It is true that the focus of the book is primarily on the Japanese and American rules and variations, but Chinese equivalent terms are included in an extensive Glossary-Index. For the vast majority of players, this will not be a serious problem.
If you buy one book on Mah Jong, it should be this one.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour de force Aug. 28 2002
Format:Paperback
The Mah Jong Handbook presents an amazingly clear method for approaching the game. The book is easy-to-read, but deals with every aspect of the game in detail.
To get the most out of the book, I recommend taking the time to work through the example exercises yourself (before going on to the analysis discussion.) Once you've gone through the book this way, you'll pretty much know everything that an expert player knows. The only thing left is to get in enough playing time to put the theory into practice.
In addition to the game aspects, the book discusses the accompanying rituals and etiquette, as well as many variations on the rules.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfaction Guaranteed!!!!!!!!! Sept. 6 2001
By Kevin Hing - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Eleanor Noss Whitney has not only succeeded in writing a concise, understandable, and comprehensive Mah Jong handbook, she has elegantly and expertly distilled into a mere 176 pages the essential tools and strategies to achieve true mastery of this ancient and wonderful game.
Whitney's handbook is the only book that most players will ever need to become a knowledgeable, confident and winning Mah Jong player. The basics of play, including seating, dealer selection, wall-building, tile-dealing and play are laid out clearly with helpful examples and good illustrations. The scoring of Mah Jong is explained with numerous carefully-constructed examples, with helpful diagrams of each tile scenario for good visual reference.
The strategy of the game is brilliantly explained in Part III, again with numerous examples that gradually train beginning players how to quickly make strategic decisions to enhance their play. As Whitney explains, Mah Jong is a game governed by sheer luck of the draw, yet the "skillful player is actually one who knows how to adapt to his luck." Her extensive explanations and examples of both "offensive" and "defensive" strategies are the soul of the book, and I, for one, was amazed how quickly my comphrehension of the game improved after having read the entire chapter.
It is true that the focus of the book is primarily on the Japanese and American rules and variations, but Chinese equivalent terms are included in an extensive Glossary-Index. For the vast majority of players, this will not be a serious problem.
If you buy one book on Mah Jong, it should be this one.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour de force Aug. 28 2002
By Sir Bowen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Mah Jong Handbook presents an amazingly clear method for approaching the game. The book is easy-to-read, but deals with every aspect of the game in detail.
To get the most out of the book, I recommend taking the time to work through the example exercises yourself (before going on to the analysis discussion.) Once you've gone through the book this way, you'll pretty much know everything that an expert player knows. The only thing left is to get in enough playing time to put the theory into practice.
In addition to the game aspects, the book discusses the accompanying rituals and etiquette, as well as many variations on the rules.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful, Comprehensive and Readable Aug. 23 2005
By Yoshimura - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A good introduction to the game for beginners, with strategy advice that will be useful to more experienced players as well.

Whitney explains clearly and concisely, using easy to understand diagrams. She even manages to explain Mah Jong's rather complex scoring system, which can be a bit off-putting for beginners.

Her inclusion of the differences between Japanese and American rules is also quite helpful, although I've found that as with any game, some of the rules and terminology vary from region to region.

All in all a good book for those looking to begin playing Mah Jong, particularly those in Japan or with Japanese friends.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for National Mah Jong league play Dec 17 2010
By Paula S - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book says it has a section on American mah jong and alternate rules, but none of it has anything to do with what is played at National Mah Jong league games. The title should specify that. It is useless to me now, but this version of the game sounds very interesting and challenging. My star rating is meaningless, too, since I don't know how to play japanese mah jong and have no one to practice with.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even a beginner could learn the game from this book! Nov. 12 2006
By A. L. Howard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book covers all the questions anybody would have about this complex game. I've searched all over the internet for answers but most rules and gameplay written on line seemed like poorly translated rules from Chinese or whatever with many mysteries left unturned. This book is great and with minimal reading gets you playing in no time.
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