Game Setup

Mahjong is played by four players. Each of them is associated with a wind (East, South, West, North), called seat wind. East is the starting player. During a normal game, each player is East at least two times. Before game begins the arrangement of the players seats and who is the first dealer must be determined.

Below there are the most common methods for determining seats and dealer. Of course in a casual environment this can be skipped and decised arbitrarily.

Each end of the table is named after one of the four winds. The current dealer is East. South sits at East’s right, West sits at South right, and North sits at West right. So the order of play is east-south-west-north, counter-clock wise (note the order of play is not the same as compass order).

Determining Seats

The following tiles are put on the table facedown.

Players take seats as they wish. Every player draws a tile. If he draws the White Dragon, he draws one more.
So each player has now been assigned his wind. The White Dragon determines the position of East. The east player will seat in that position and following in counter-clockwise order the remaining player take seats. (order is East-South-West-North).

Determining the dealer (oya 親)

The player who sits currently in East position rolls the two dice. He then counts players counterclockwise, starting with himself.
The player determined by this roll, rolls the dice again counting in the same manner. The player determined by this roll becomes the starting Dealer (East). The Dealer Determines the Assignment of Directions. Each seat is assigned to a direction. The Dealer is always assigned to East.

Prevalent wind

When the game begins, east is the prevalent wind. After all players have been dealer once, the south round begins and south is the prevalent wind. The dealer marker should
be placed permanently by the player who begins as East, and when this player becomes
East again after the first (east) round of the game, the marker is flipped to indicate the
new prevalent wind, south.

Setup the walls

Tiles are mixed on the table by all four players. After this each player build a wall of face-down tiles, seventeen tiles long and two tiers high. The four walls are pushed together to form a square.

Breaking the wall

East player (the dealer) rolls two dice and counts that number of players counter-clockwise, starting with
himself. The player thus determined breaks the wall in front of him, by counting from
the right the same number of tiles as the indicated by the dice. After the last counted tile, the wall is broken by pushing the two wall sections a bit apart.

The dead wall

The seven tile stacks to the right of the break make up the dead wall. The dead wall
continues around the corner to the next wall, if the end of the wall is reached. After the
seventh tile stack, the two sections of the wall are pushed a bit apart to set the dead wall
apart from the end of the wall.

The dora indicator

Count three tiles into the dead wall from the original break in the wall, and turn the top
tile over to determine the dora indicator. This tile indicates which tile is the dora.
The dora is a special tile that double the score of an hand when used.
If the dora indicator is a suit tile, the dora is the next tile in the same suit, e.g. seven bamboo is dora
if six bamboo is the dora indicator. If the indicator is a nine, the dora is the one in the
same suit. If the indicator is a dragon, the dora is also a dragon, as the following order
applies: red-white-green-red. For winds,
likewise, the following order applies: east-south-west-north-east.

If dora indicator is the dora is
If dora indicator is the dora is
If dora indicator is the dora is
If dora indicator is the dora is

The deal

The dealer takes the first four tiles in the wall after the original break in
the wall. Player’s follow suit, taking four tiles at a time. Tiles are taken clockwise, while the players turns proceed counter-clockwise. This is repeated until all players have 12 tiles. East continues by taking two tiles: the top tiles in the first and
third stacks in the wall. South, West and North each take one tile in order. East now has
a starting hand of fourteen tiles, whereas the other players have thirteen tiles.

The dice are placed at the dealer’s right.

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