Mahjong, also spelled majiang, mah jongg, and numerous other variants, is a game that originated in China.
- It is commonly played by four players with some three-player variations found in South Korea and Japan.
- The game and its regional variants are widely played throughout Eastern and South Eastern Asia and have a small following in Western countries.
- The game is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols, although some regional variations use a different number of tiles.
- In most variations, each player begins by receiving 13 tiles.
- In turn players draw and discard tiles until they complete a legal hand using the 14th drawn tile to form four groups (melds) and a pair (head).
- There are fairly standard rules about how a piece is drawn, how a piece is stolen from another player and thus melded, the use of simples (numbered tiles) and honors (winds and dragons), the kinds of melds, and the order of dealing and play.
- However there are many regional variations in the rules; in addition, the scoring system and the minimum hand necessary to win varies significantly based on the local rules being used.
In Chinese, the game was originally called 麻雀 (pinyin: máquè)—meaning sparrow—which is still the name most commonly used in some southern Chinese varieties such as Cantonese and Min Nan, as well as in Japanese.
- However, most Mandarin-speaking Chinese now call the game májiàng (麻將).
The World Mahjong Championship is played to determine the World Champion in the table game Mahjong held by World Mahjong Organization.
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