Taiwanese Mahjong Rules

3. Playing

3.1 The goal of the game

The goal of the game is to “go out” by completing a hand composed of five sets of three tiles each, plus a pair, thus totaling seventeen tiles. A set may also be composed of four tiles, the total of seventeen being increased by one for each such set.

3.2 Sets

There are four kinds of sets (or basic tile combinations) that can be used to collect a winning hand: Chows, Pungs, Kongs and Pairs.

Chow – a set composed of three sequential suit tiles

Chinese Mahjong Game Rules - Game Play

Pung – a set composed of three identical tiles

Chinese Mahjong Game Rules - Game Play

Kong – a set composed of four identical tiles

Pair – a set composed of two identical tiles

A regular winning hand must always contain one, and only one pair. Any hand containing five sets of Chows/Pungs and Kongs (in any combination of these sets) – and a pair – is a valid winning hand.

Example of a complete hand. The hand is composed of a concealed Chow of Bamboo 2, a concealed Pung of Character 3, a concealed Pung of Dot 3, a melded Kong of Dot 6-7- 8, a concealed Pung of Red Dragons and a pair of North Winds.


Example of a complete hand. The hand is composed of a concealed Chow of Bamboo 1-2- 3, a concealed Pung of Character 3, a concealed Pung of Dot 3, a melded Chow of Dot 6-7- 8, a concealed Pung of Red Dragons and a pair of North Winds.


Another example of a complete hand. This hand consists of four concealed Pungs (composed of Bamboo 2’s, Character 3’s, Dot 4’s and Dot 7’s), one melded Kong  of Dot 6, and a pair of White Dragons. (Note that a Concealed Kong must be declared.)

The sets can be composed either of tiles drawn from the Wall on player's own turn, or by completing a set by claiming a tile discarded by another player. Sets composed entirely of tiles drawn from the Wall are called concealed sets. Sets completed by claiming the missing tile from another player's discard are called melded (or exposed) sets.
The bonus tiles (Flowers and Seasons), if they are used in the game, are not used for completing the sets but are replaced immediately when received by regular tiles drawn from the Dead Wall.


In addition to regular winning hands consisting of five sets and a pair, the rules often recognize at least one  irregular hand, Seven pairs and a triplet.


3.3 Claiming

Whenever a player discards a tile, the other three players may claim the tile either to go out, or to complete a Pung, Kong or Chow (the latter, when not being the set that completes the hand, being allowed only to the player sitting to the right of the discarder).

If two or more players claim the same tile, the order of precedence is (from the most valuable to the least valuable): Winning Claim, Kong, Pung and Chow. If two or more players claim the same tile for going out, they are all considered as winners.

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