The traditional version of Mahjong originated in China a couple thousand years ago. The exact origin of the game is still up for debate, and even to this day it is still mostly speculation. Today the game of Mahjong has many faces, there is the traditional version, or simply put, Mahjong. Then, for those who enjoy a nice alternative spin on the game, there is Mahjong Titans, Mahjong Solitaire, Mahjong Dimensions, and Mahjong Connect, just to name a few.
Traditional Mahjong is usually played with four players. Although, in some countries there are other versions of Mahjong that only require three players, for the sake of this article lets just focus on the four player version as not to make it anymore confusing. The game starts out with 144 tiles. The tiles are based on Chinese characters and symbols. The standard set comes with three different types of suit tiles, the character tiles, the stick tiles, and the wheel tiles. The game also comes with four styles of honor tiles, the dragon tiles, flower tiles, wind tiles, and season tiles.
The basic rules of Mahjong are similar from one version to the next, however, there are some small changes to how the game is played when you switch from the traditional version of Mahjong, to a modern version of Mahjong. In the traditional version of Mahjong, each player starts out by drawing thirteen tiles. The tiles are used to create hands and players will continue to take turns drawing new tiles to better their position at trying to create those hands.
Some of the modern versions of Mahjong, such as Mahjong Titans, or Mahjong Connect uses a totally different set of rules, however, the tile systems remain the same. The only exception to this is Mahjong Dimensions, which usually follows the modern playing style; they just don’t use the traditional tiles. The tiles used in Mahjong Dimensions are usually of different characters such as heats, or other sorts of fun things.
No matter what version of Mahjong you decide to try, the game is a lot of fun, and I am sure you will not be disappointed. It requires that you use a certain level of skill, and concentration, which makes it great exercise for the brain. I would not worry too much about game knowledge. Mahjong is an easy game to learn and you should be up to speed in no time.