Library hosts weekly Mahjongg

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to get property 'settings' of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in include() (line 24 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/templates/simpleads_ajax_call.tpl.php).

All are welcome! Mahjongg is played at the Guttenberg Public Library each Thursday at 1 p.m. From left are Wendy Shea and Laura Manson. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Each Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. community members gather at The Guttenberg Public Library to play Mahjongg, pronounced mah-JONG.

The tile-based game, commonly played by four players, was developed in the 19th century in China, and has spread throughout the world since the early 20th century. Similar to the card game rummy, Mahjongg is a game of skill, strategy, and luck, and is often referred to as Mahjongg rummy, or Chinese dominos. 

The group that gathers has been playing Mahjongg in Guttenberg for six or seven years. "Karilyn McArthur organized the group inviting a few of us to learn with Ann Fariello as our teacher," they shared. "Ann had played in the winters when she went south. We played twice a month when schedules allowed at each others' homes. It has always been a very social group and part of the fun of playing is getting to know people."

Gradually more players joined the group. "Others joined the group and some left the group because of moving away, time constraints and other reasons," they explained.  One of those who really enjoyed the game was the late Judy Puls. I was honored to receive her game set," said Wendy Shea, a spokesperson for the group.  

The Mahjongg members collectively agreed, and said, "We learned to play because we love the challenge, we love to play games and we love the social group."

Currently, players who participate in the Thursday afternoon game at the public library vary from three to eight players each week. "Eight of us are regulars and four others have joined us at times," they commented. "Mahjongg may be played with two to four people at a table and as many tables as needed so everyone present may play. Sometimes when someone is learning to play they may watch or play with one of us to help them until they feel confident to play by themselves." 

"There are plenty of tables and room for anyone interested in participating," said Katey Simon, library director. 

'The group is very willing to teach and help when needed," they added. "We all remember what it was like learning to play this complicated game. We don't get too bogged down in the rules that might make it less fun."

How to play

Playing Mahjongg in person is nothing like the computer version, which is similar to a matching game. 

"Mahjongg is played with tiles that are similar to playing cards in that they are numbered 1-9 and have suits (Characters, Bamboos, and Dots)," they told The Press. "There are also jokers, flowers, winds and dragons. Tiles are dealt and exchanged in a specific way with each player trying to match a hand from a card purchased from the National Mahjongg League. Each year the League tests and distributes a new card so you cannot really become too comfortable with them."

Play continues with each player drawing or picking up a tile and discarding one. The game ends with one of the players completing their chosen hand on the card and declaring a mahjong. "There are a lot of rules and often new things happen that we have not experienced before that send us to the national rule book or website. It requires concentration and flexibility," they noted. 

The group invites anyone who is interested to attend and see what it is like and learn a fun game. "I have played Mahjongg on several cruise ships and during my visits to Arizona," commented Shea, "I have always met great people who enjoy the game."

Rate this article: 
No votes yet