Mahjong Instructions for Two Players

By Matt Scheer
Although each character tile has a special meaning in Chinese, knowing that meaning isn't necessary to play Mahjong.

Although Mahjong is usually played with four players, no major rule needs to be altered from the four player game in order to work for only two players. A centuries old game, Mahjong is similar to the card game Rummy, except with tiles. The object of each round of the game is to be the first to make a Mahjong in your hand of 13 tiles. Players make Mahjong's by matching suits of tiles which they've drawn from the draw pile.

Roll dice to see who goes first. The high dice roll goes first and deals out the tiles.

Pass out 13 tiles face down to each player. The player looks at his own tiles but does not show the tiles to the other player.

Place the rest of the tiles face down between the two players.

Pick a tile from the draw stock of piles and place it in your hand. Discard one tile to stay at 13 tiles. Place the discarded tile face up so your opponent can see what you discarded and decide whether to take that tile. Your opponent can take this tile in order to form a pong, kong, or chou meld in his hand. A pong is a group of three identical tiles; kong is a group of four identical tiles; and a chou is three sequential suited tiles. If the player took your tool from the discard to form a meld, that player must show the meld he formed.

Show a Mahjong if you have four melds and a pair in your hand. You win the round. Tally your score by giving yourself one point for a chair; two points for a pair of suits; three points for a pair of honors (honors are the 28 tiles that do not have a suit); four points for a pong of suits; five points for a kong of suits; six points for a pong of honors; and 10 points for a kong of honors.

Things Needed

  • Standard Mahjong playing tile set
  • Paper
  • Pencil

About the Author

Matt Scheer began writing professionally in 2005. His work has appeared in "The Daily Texan" and "The New York Tribune." Scheer holds a B.A. in English and a B.A. in history, both from the University of Texas. He is also a certified Yoga teacher and Web designer.