Majiang is a four-player game that originated in China. Majiang requires skill, intelligence, calculation and, like other gambling games, a certain amount of luck.
Though rules differ depending on regional variations, the overall aim of the game is to amass a greater score than the other players.
Generally, to get a higher score, a player must be able to call "Majiang" by building complete tile sets. The three basic sets are as follows:
Pong or Pung
A set of 3 identical tiles (similar to a three of a kind in poker but without the kickers).
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A set of 4 identical tiles (similar to a four of a kind in poker but without the kickers).
A run of 3 tiles in the same suit (similar to a straight in poker but with only three tiles).
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The closest Western game to Majiang is perhaps the card game Gin Rummy. Both Majiang and Gin Rummy involve selecting or discarding tiles or cards to form groups or sets of similar suits.
Majiang (Májiàng) or Máquè is Mandarin for the popular Chinese game of Mahjong (). In Cantonese (), the game is called màhjeung or màhjeuk. In English, the game is spelled as mahjongg, majong, Majiang, mah-jong, mah-jongg or just M-J. Joseph Park Babcock trademarked the spelling "Mah-Jongg" in 1920.
The Chinese word literally means "hemp general". While the Cantonese alternate writing, , literally means "sparrow". In Japanese, means "hemp sparrow" and pronounced as mā-jan.