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Mahjong Rummy: How to balance a classic style game

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

I found a second life to my Mahjong game by making it possible to play the game like Rummy. The game is playable but far from balanced. The rules can be found on my website or Board Game Geek:

This game has little play testing and there is 2 things I am worried about:

1- Game drags on forever, or last longer than it should.

2- Players can steals points by using manipulation too move in too much tiles in their play field.

A: In Rummy, players can manipulate tiles on the board when their hand is open. But in my game, the tiles retain their ownership, so now it matters a bit more how you can borrow or give tiles because it affects your score. See the rules for the details.

If I allow no restriction for manipulation, than players could steal all other player's tile into their play area to score the points. While if it's too restrictive, there will be so few manipulation openings and the game will never end.

I tried to dress up a list of all possible valid manipulations, but in my last game, I ended up doing a manipulation I did not expect. So I might just stick to golden rules, they are also easier to remember.

So do you have any guidelines of a good way to setup tile manipulation restriction?

B: The other thing I am worried about is the concept of opening your hand. Many classic games have that concept without having a clue why. One thing I thought is that instead of requiring 6 tiles to open, it could be from 8-9 tiles to open.

It will make the start of the game drag longer, but it could also put more tiles into play once people are open allowing more manipulations. In our last game, there was some situation people were waiting for a modification to the play area to do something, so the game stalled.

On the other hand, keeping hand closed for a longer period of time makes the game drag much more longer which could increase play time. So I am not sure if changing it can actually help.

So why openings exists and what is the impact on gameplay?

Joined: 09/06/2017
Tiles everyone can use

The most obvious way I see to speed up your game is to increase the ways players can use their tiles.

One way to do this is to create a common pool of tiles that players can use to try to create new tile combinations to play. You would need away to populate this pool once it is depleted. You could just draw new tiles and/or you could allow players with the most unplayed tiles to add a tile to the common pool during their turn.

A similar thought is to have "neutral" manipulation area that everyone can play tiles. Seeding would be similar as above. You could stipulate that these tiles cannot be stolen. Not sure what the best way to score this would be my first thought was no scoring at all, but whoever played (not seeded) the most would be interesting as well. If there is scoring you could treat unmatched tiles as negative.

Just a thoughts feel free to disregard, try or improve upon.

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