Mama Jong: The Long Night

Last night was a bloodbath for me at my last tournament. Dealer tsumo mangan, sambaiman and I threw into an obvious half flush. All I got was a Riichi nomi hand. I never even got to see my final dealership on most games. Should I just quit and try tic-tac-toe?

No. Not today.

I know this drill all too well. You draw starting North for 75% of your games, eliminating your hopes of double points in the hands of these glacial players.

Picture it: You’re the first North. Each East before you has had dealer continuation after dealer continuation. A wave of tsumos and lost mangans. You are the watcher of the wall and the clock. There are ten minutes left on when you finally get your dealership. The tiles you kill rise up into someone else’s called hands to attack you further. You slowly but surely bleed points. The mahjong player always pays his bills after all.

But quitting is not an option. A battle lost does not mean the war is lost. Survey the discard pools like a true strategist. The weak point of your enemies lies there. It betrays their secrets and informs you of their agendas. No one can stop a tsumo slaughter by your host, but you can stop handing them easy wins. Avoid the dragon attacks. Don’t be a slave to tile efficiency, instead zig and zag to avoid your opponents’ arrows. If you see someone favouring a suit, hold that suit hostage in your own hand to maintain an uneasy truce on the table.

It’ll be a long battle of attrition but don’t give up even when it seems all is lost. Find that hand of true value and go for the kill. Everyone loves the ron ex machina of the loser sticking the blade into a poorly-scripted first place.

Tell them: “The North remembers”

Mama Jong

Mama Jong has been playing mahjong since there were only three winds.