Thursday 27 November 2014

Ladies Invade Homes in Search of Mah Jongg Sets!   

IsraelSwainAnn M. Israel and Gregg Swain were after private Western mah jongg collections when they invaded many homes during their search, but they aren’t burglars! They are photo-archeologists, and private homes were their dig! Hidden deep in the dark of basements, closets, and attics all over this world are some of the most amazing mah jongg treasures people might never see; tiles carefully hand carved and painted by artisans long forgotten. Like skillful and patient archeologists, Ann M. Israel and Gregg Swain set out to unearth these lost works of art before they are forgotten forever.

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‘Washizu Mahjong’ to be added to FourWinds Mahjong

Screenshot from the Akagi-cartoon.HELSINKI - The next version of the popular mahjong software game ‘Four Winds Mahjong’ is likely to contain ‘Washizu Mahjong’. This very special mahjong variant is inspired on the Japanese manga ‘Akagi’. In this manga - also turned into a cartoon - a spectacular, deadly mahjong competition is played with tiles which are transparent - that is to say: most of them.

Noboyuki FukumotoUntil now, Washizu Mahjong does not exist in the real world. The exact rules and regulations are not even determined yet. Certain is that it is based on riichi mahjong. But it is not sure if the manga artist, Nobuyuki Fukumoto, has given much thought to the problems which might arouse when playing with see-through tiles.

But, thanks to the immense popularity of the manga and the cartoon, some manufacturers have started to sell ‘Washizu sets’: sets in which every fourth specimen of each tiles is opaque. The rest is transparent. Some of the buyers have tried to play Washizu mahjong with these sets. A first international Washizu tournament (no open subscription) is anticipated later this year at Arnhem, the Netherlands. On the web site of this event, discussions about the rules and regulations are being held.

Teams

Washizu set, with transparent and non-transparent tiles.The FourWinds software game is quite popular, since it can be used to practice virtually any mahjong variant, thanks to the flexible rule set configuration. This also implies Taiwanese mahjong (which is played with sixteen tiles) and American mahjong (where a varying number of jokers is used).

The addition to the game was suggested by Mahjong News to Arto Tenkanen, the Finnish creator of the software. Mr.Tenkanen has reacted enthusiastically on the idea, since he thinks Washizu Mahjong is a very interesting concept. “It would be fairly easy to implement, though its proper implementation would require significant changes in AI, especially if team-play is allowed.”

In the manga, the two main characters, Akagi and Washizu, have both an assistant, who discard the tiles which they need. It is not sure yet if this concept will be used during the Dutch tournament.

Arto: “I have been planning a new glass/plastic-like theme to be released with the next update (concentrating mostly on supporting large-format screens, including HD ready and Full-HD TV sets) so the concept of partial transparency would fit well with the aesthetics of the new theme.”

In the next update of FourWinds mahjong, also EMA Riichi rules will be applied. Until now, this rule set has to be created manually by the users.

Website of FourWinds Mahjong
The Akagi cartoon on YouTube

 

Comments (5)Comments are closed
1Monday, 22 February 2010 03:26
Alan Kwan
I think Washizu is sub-optimal because it's just a matter of luck whether one gets a transparent or opaque tile. I suggest not to bother with a special tile set, instead just play with a normal set, but with the rule that, each player must reveal all but three tiles in his hand. This is better because the player chooses which tiles to reveal and which to conceal. Also, we avoid the costs and hassle (bag, gloves, etc) of a special set.

Some day I'll try Spy mahjong with Zung Jung rules.
2Monday, 22 February 2010 13:25
Bunta
Of course its a matter of luck, like in every version of Mahjong, even Zung Jung. Because you can never affect the tiles you start with (unless you cheat)!

But this is how it works in Washizu. And this is what the feeling is all about!
3Tuesday, 23 February 2010 01:02
Alan Kwan
There is inherently some luck in mahjong. And a variant can add more luck to it, or not.

For example, real joker tiles add a lot of luck. But virtual jokers, while improving the pace of the game, adds some skill without adding any excess luck. I believe Washizu and Spy gives the same comparison.
4Wednesday, 21 April 2010 10:00
BEE
Actually this washizu transparent gameplay is quite interesting. There is a local retailer here in Vancouver that sells such a set in Chinese and i believe american set as well. You can actually choose the level of transparency and how many tiles are transparent and how many are opaque. This really changes the way you play mahjong.

http://www.aceofheartz.com/product_p/transparent_mahjong_custom_set.htm
Saturday, 24 April 2010 11:18
Adrie van Geffen
There is no real need to purchase different sets with %% of transparancy. You need only a regular set and a transparant set. The tiles don't even have to be the same size, for no wall is built. It may look awkward in the hand, but the effect is still the same. Purchasing only the all transparant set will give you all possible variants mentioned.
5Friday, 28 May 2010 06:05
BEE
Actually if you view the link above again, the gameplay is different using transparent tiles. You are actually building the wall and playing a "regular" game of mahjong, but using transparent tiles, so therefore the different percentages of transparent tiles in that customizable set actually makes sense and the size of the tiles does matter. You aren't just picking the tiles out of a bag.
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