'Mah jong' can be translated from Chinese as 'clattering sparrow', 'flax sparrow' or possibly as 'hemp bird'. Tom Sloper suggest that this is
due to the fact that the tiles when shuffled make a melodious noise reminiscent of the noise of numerous sparrows squabbling over scattered
It was not before the turn of this century until the West got a glimpse of Mah Jongg, when it was introduced in the international colony of
Shanghai and from then onwards in the USA, Japan and finally Europe. When it was introduced in the West, it was claimed that it's origins were
shrouded in the mists of time, but most evidence seems to point to the game being developed in the late 1800's in the Ningpo area of China.
The original mahjongg game is a board game for four players somewhat similar to the card game "Gin Rummy", but played with tiles instead of
cards. There are at least 26 known varieties of mahjongg; with the six major varieties being: Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, American, Western
and Filipino. Different mahjong games use pretty similar basic rules, but different scoring and different strategies, special hands and tile
Although the game MahJongg as it is generally played today can only be traced back to the end of the last century, the line of games that
evolved to MahJongg is long and extensive. From around 800 AD card games were played which resembled the way MahJongg is played. The cards used
in these games resembled the money used in those days.
Recently a growing number of people are realizing the intellectual challenge Mah Jongg poses and the beauty and excitement of the game itself.
Thus, a numerous clubs of mahjongg fans have evolved and a whole philosophic system of MahJongg symbolism is now shaped up. Now, Mah Jong
is also often called a solitaire game due to their similarity.
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