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Is Mahjong difficult to learn?

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Mahjong is an ancient Chinese game that is once again gaining in popularity. The tabletop game uses tiles instead of cards, and is strengthen intelligence since it requires a lot of concentration and critical thinking to build a winning strategy.

One needs to use their brains and strategize before making game time decisions. As a result, Mahjong can assist in combatting dementia and improve cognitive impairment since the game focuses mostly on memory skills.

Is mahjong difficult to learn? Yes, but it also depends on factors such as which Mahjong variation being played and the type of tiles used. The complexity of Mahjong begins with the gameplay rules revolving around the tile game. 

For instance, in China alone, there are over 30 mahjong variants. Though it is hard to learn, a player can excel in the game if they keep practicing because it’s a game players learn over time, and build a strategy from what they have learned.

But why is mahjong difficult? The game begins with four players around a table with their hands filled with tiles. 

Players must use these tiles to create a wall of 19 tiles long and 2 tiles thick. A hand is complete with 14 matching tiles, comprising four sets of 3 and a pair. 

The game involves hands and scoring. The complexity of mahjong comes into play when learning to stack tiles, draw them, and discarding the tiles.

Getting the basics of mahjong is easy, but mastering it depends the person, level of intelligence, and how exposed the person is to other tiles games. Answered below are frequently asked questions about the difficulty of Mahjong and learning to play the game.

Is Mahjong a luck or skill game?

Mahjong is a combination of both luck and skill, but it is considered a skillful game based on long-term play results. Luck in mahjong comes naturally and is based on the ease of drawing the necessary tiles.

Research shows that the probability of winning by luck is 25%. Therefore, winning by luck is accidental, so it’s not a reliable way to get a victory. 

Skill is a vital resource in Mahjong, and so it’s something one needs to apply during gameplay. Applying skill in mahjong is subjective to counteraction, but luck is just a fluke that a player cannot always be reliable because of getting good tiles. 

Good skill in mahjong can overturn a lousy round. When one has the skill in mahjong, they always play a good game whichever the circumstances. 

Mahjong is all about utilizing opportunities by applying the right techniques. Being unskilled doesn’t mean you can’t win games, but eventually luck runs out in the long run.

What is the trick to playing Mahjong?

First and foremost, practice. It requires getting focused and playing a game more than once to learn nuances that improve chance for victory.

The following are nine strategies to have a better edge to win in Mahjong.

  • Be one step ahead of other players while matching the tiles.
  • A player should delay their moves if they are not gaining anything. Think ahead, and if there is no matching tile on the board, wait for the game to evolve until a better opportunity presents itself.
  • Focus on the tiles that have the same symbol. Several tiles with the same symbol are commonly available at the same time, so don’t try to match them at random.
  • Focus on the tiles that are similar on top of each other. Always prioritize with tiles that are similar and top to each other because, with time, these can cause unfathomable puzzles.
  • Focus on long rows that have high stacks. Dealing with such rows first helps to avoid getting into an unsolvable stage.
  • Apply special features of the game to solve unsolvable puzzles. There exists computerized mahjong solitaire, which has features undo and reshuffle features.
  • While playing against the computer, don’t always follow their hint because it may not be the right move for the longterm.
  • Memorize the tiles and the position they occupy. 

How do you win in Mahjong?

A player wins Mahjong in two ways;

  • Suppose one has 13 tiles matching in their hand, and the discarded tile completes a winning hand (4 pairs of 3 and 1 pair). They can steal the 14th tile from the player who discards it, and declare “mahjong” to make a complete hand. 
  • Alternatively, they can wait until their turn reaches to draw the tile from the stock.
  • A person cannot win if all the wells are depleted. In this case, the round ends with a draw.

How long does it take to play a game of mahjong?

It depends on the players involved and the type of Mahjong game being played. An average game can take 15 minutes for every hand, and 10 minutes per hand for faster players. 

However, 2 to 3 hours might be expected to complete a game if players plan to have 4 hands to win in total.

Is Mahjong difficult to learn

Learning Mahjong: Conclusion 

Having a strategy is what counts in mahjong, and that will determine the odds of winning or not. However, patience is required to acquire and master these strategies.

Learning the basics for gameplay is quite easy, but that’s not all in Mahjong. With the basics, a person is still unskillful, and they can only rely on luck that doesn’t come through all the time.

It’s not all about learning the strategy, but practicing and putting the techniques to good use. It doesn’t matter how much research about the game you have accomplished, it takes time to play and master applicable moves. 

While playing the game Mahjong, have fun and enjoy the learning process. In the end, a game has two outcomes, and one can be a victim of either side, but improving your skill level will swing the odds in your favor..

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