Out on the tiles

Today we had friends round for the first time in ages. We had lunch, walked by the sea and then came back and played Mahjong. Or at least they showed us the basics.

Mah Jong game with Jan and Paul It seems to be a very deep game – like a cross between chess and dominoes but with lots of nuances. All the tiles in their set were bamboo and plastic – historically they were bamboo and ivory – and there are a mix of types.

There are the special tiles: winds, blessing and dragons. Then there are normal numbered tiles (1-9): bamboo, wheels and Chinese characters.

The experience was a bit like like playing poker for the first time, but having to learn how to count and what the cards mean.

A proper Mahjong game takes sixteen rounds. We managed three. One practice game and we were told how it worked. Two extra games and J won one and I won one too.

I think if we had been playing proper rules J would have won easily the second time too, but they were both very gracious and explained the game to us. They seem pretty good at it, but informed us that other friends at church have been playing for many years and are very, very good. I think we’ll stay out of their way!

For those of you who are interested, we warmed up with a game of Star Wars Top Trumps and the proceedings were helped along with music from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, chocolate Lebkuchen and an enormous pot of tea.