The game originally came over from China. Different versions arrived and they were all well received. The game continued to evolve adding new combinations of tiles to make hands and eliminating some as well. It then became confusing to play. In 1937 a group of enthusiasts in New York got together and standardized the game and the National Mah Jongg League was founded. Each year they produce a card with the hands to be played for that year. This keeps the game fresh and adds more interest to it. The group is an organization that donates to charitable causes and today there are millions of dedicated players.
Some basic information before you begin:
This version is played using 152 tiles consisting of the suited tiles,(bamboos, cracks and dots), the dragons, the winds, flowers and the jokers. The white dragon is a blank tile or a tile with a blue border around the edge. It is referred to as "Soap" or white and is the only dragon that can also represent a "zero". The three dragons are matched to the various suits. The red dragon is matched with the cracks, the green dragon with the bamboo(bam) tiles and the white dragon with the dots. The Jokers act as wild cards and can replace any tile in a hand except in a pair. They prove to be valuable however if you make your hand without using jokers then you will double your points.
The Object of the game is to be the first one to complete one of the hands on the National Mah Jongg League Official Standard Hands and Rules card. You must be playing with the proper year card. It is a good idea to practice matching your tiles in various combinations so that you can become familiar with the hands or memorize them. This helps you become a faster and more efficient player.