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Max Mahjong

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:57 am
by rotkehlchen
So I stumbled over this "Max Mahjong".

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/16 ... ax-mahjong

The idea behind this thing "a brand-new mahjong game that is customized for American players". Correct. American players ONLY. They only ship to the United States.
More detailed, they re-skinned all of the tiles to make it easier for an American audience to remember them. They also "optimized the rules", without really explaining how they optimized it, but it "makes the entire gameplay more exciting".
Inheriting this core design concept, Max Mahjong discards some too-complex melds and emphasizes the change of players' actions to the points.
In a "treasure gameplay", the treasure tile is random in each round, greatly increasing the chance of each player to win. Finally seizing a winning hand will gain you extra points.
"Going for broke" makes the game full of excitement. Choosing to go for broke will reduce the chance of winning but greatly increase the points if you win.
They also work on a "Mahjong bible":
In the Max Mahjong Bible, we introduce interesting history of Mahjong as well as some tips that can help you win, such as how to calculate a chance and how to sound out your opponents. Beautifully illustrated, this book provides interesting contents that cannot be found anywhere else. Furthermore, we introduce some basic manners in playing Mahjong.
Opinions?

Re: Max Mahjong

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:52 am
by or2az
My opinion: Garbage
Another kickstarter project that will disappear into the wind shortly, as did the other one that wanted to draw real blood in a mahjong game.http://reachmahjong.com/en/forum/viewto ... ter#p58095
As we all know, there already is American version mahjong, happily played by lots of older people, none of which are having trouble understanding the rules, or stupid enough to need the dragons changed to the white house and the statue of liberty.
As I scout around for people to play mahjong with, I feel disappointed enough when I see they are playing American Mahjong.
Seeing anyone play this game would make me want to throw up. (as did listening to that video)
Think I will stop now before I start being really negative.

Re: Max Mahjong

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:19 am
by Shirluban
I think replacing the dots by stars and bamboos by bullets will really help.
Also, using dices with 1 and 5 painted in red, instead of 1 and 4, is a major improvement.

No, seriously, the classic tiles my look complex at first glance, by only 11 tiles actually require special attention: 4 to 9 man, winds, and 1 bam.
I don't count dragons, because you just have to look at the color.
If someone can't remember 11 tiles (14 for color-blinds), no level of rules simplification can help.

Could the tiles be redesigned to be easier to read? Sure.
It it interesting to do it? Not much, and it'll have major drawbacks.
Will their proposition significantly help? Nope.

(Note I've only looked at the tiles' design for now, I'll check the rest after work.)

Re: Max Mahjong

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:04 pm
by Shirluban
Dibs their rules are:
- Melded chow => 1 point
- Melded pung => 2 points
- Concealed set => 0 point
- No kongs, flowers, jokers, ...
- No special hands (Seven Pairs, Kokushi, ...)
- No yaku
- "seizing treasure" = dora => x2 hand score
- "going for broke" = all concealed => 10 points
Or something close.


I can tell they haven't deeply thought about their project:
- Learning the standard tiles design is not an option. Even if you use a simplified design, you still have to learn the standard design to be able to play with people outside your group and to get tiles sets from any supplier.
- The solution to tiles' complexity already exists and is already widely spread. It's called a numbered set (see the smiley-tiles). It both makes the tiles easier to identify AND help learning the standard design.
- Having 1 bam/bullet not showing any bam/bullet is a useless complexity. Keeping it goes against the simplification goal.
- "a chow (吃) or pong (碰)"
For someone finding the rules too complex, words like "chow" and "pung" certainly require an explanation (or ditching them in favor of "sequence/run" and "triplet/3-of-a-kind"). It's good to see they indeed provide such explanation, but why the hell doing it in Chinese?!?
Know your target audience:
If someone doesn't know what "chow" means, he certainly doesn't know what "吃" means either.
If someone knows what "吃" means, he'll have no use of a simplified set and rules.

________________________

Can someone explain me the "safari" tile?
I don't get it.

Re: Max Mahjong

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:42 pm
by or2az
Can someone explain to me the "safari" tile?
The only explanation I can come up with is the symbol on the iphone safari app or the needle on a compass, which also shows EWNS, referring to the four wind tiles.
Guns (the 1 bam), bullets (the other bams), a hunting safari (for red dragons?), who knows how one's mind works?
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Re: Max Mahjong

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:06 pm
by rotkehlchen
Shirluban wrote: Can someone explain me the "safari" tile?
I don't get it.
It's explained in the paragraph above:
For example, "Red dragon (中)", "Green dragon (发)", and "White dragon (白)" in the traditional mahjong tiles embody Chinese people's simple desires for "progress", "getting rich", and "promotion". In our new version of Max Mahjong, they are replaced by "Safari", "White house", and "Statue of Liberty", to pay a tribute to the American spirits of adventure, equality, and freedom.
Additional to the things already mentioned:
- Both the video and the description mention the growing worldwide spread of Mahjong and then they reduce this Max Mahjong to an American audience. Also, if you play Mahjong, "you will have common topics with billions of people in the world". Too bad the only common thing is that a you play a game called Mahjong because none of those billions of people knows your ultimate niche ruleset.
- "Too difficult to buy an elegant Mahjong set" Well, if I would have to describe the new tiles in one word, it definitely wouldn't be "elegant".
- He is right about Man- and Windtiles being hard to remember unless you really want to. But you could either buy a set with numbers and letters on them or, like a friend of mine and I did, make sheets that explains the tiles. No need to buy an expensive 'MURICA set.

Re: Max Mahjong

Posted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:16 am
by Senechal
Cofa Tsui would be proud, at least he published rules with his variant tile design.

Sadly, this is yet another example on how the exoticism ("asianese character") that Mahjong seems to represent and people endlessly aiming to scam people into paying hyperinflated amounts for something that already exists.

Re: Max Mahjong

Posted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:47 am
by Barticle
Transcend the Pacific Ocean? Socially friendly? :lol: Improving wit?! :shock:

Mahjong isn't even a "board game". :roll:

Anyone who needs something this simplistic should just drop a few dollars on a Rummikub game instead.

Why did they quote that kanji for green dragon? Evidently it is a simplified form of but is it ever used on tiles anywhere? Even their own diagram shows ! It'd be rare to have anything other than even on vintage sets, or sometimes an actual dragon on some US sets. Maybe (firebird/phoenix) with (dragon) in an early US set (like this).

Re: Max Mahjong

Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:56 pm
by Shirluban
or2az wrote:
Can someone explain to me the "safari" tile?
The only explanation I can come up with is the symbol on the iphone safari app or the needle on a compass, which also shows EWNS, referring to the four wind tiles.
Guns (the 1 bam), bullets (the other bams), a hunting safari (for red dragons?), who knows how one's mind works?
That makes sense.
I means the explanation, not the design choice (aren't they more than two famous buildings in USA?).

Know your audience, take two:
- Someone finding a game too difficult to learn will not throw $95 on it.
- Someone ok with the game's complexity has no use of a simplified set & rules.