FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

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Aetheron
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FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Aetheron » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:54 am

Hello all! Below is my automatic mahjong table story and further below is a review of the actual table that I bought.

Story

I've been a Riichi Mahjong player for five years now, playing at first with an "American" set with which I used the extra blank tiles as the Haku and painted four of the fives red for the red fives. In the Spring of 2009 an anime that some of you on this board are probably familiar with started airing, "Saki." Besides being utterly ridiculous (yet incredibly fun to watch, one of my favorite anime ever) with it's mahjong "powers" (Rinshan Kaihou EVERY TIME???) it also introduced me to automatic mahjong tables...which I immediately decided that somehow I had to get my hands on one of those. I was coincidently taking a trip to San Francisco at the time, so I asked around in both "Japantown" and "Chinatown." Not only did no one have any idea what I was talking about, but one Chinese-American lady even told me I was a "crazy Caucasian kid" because mixing the tiles by hand did something to the tiles' "ki" or something along those lines. So of course I turned to the Internet for some answers and of course popped the question here at RM as well. Through some research of my own, and some very useful information from the always helpful and friendly Tom Sloper and David Hurley (http://www.japanese-games-shop.com/mahj ... e-mahjong/), I discovered that importing a table from Japan would be killer in terms of both purchase price and shipping price. The Chinese manufacturers only seemed to make tables with ginormous 44mm Chinese Style tiles - and the tables had to be shipped to a port and then picked up...and I don't think the port in my home of Green Bay, Wisconsin qualifies.

Through a random Google search I stumbled upon www.versatilemachinery.com which seemed promising for the fact that it was based in teh US and I could actually call them and talk to them about what I was looking for. I spoke with Vicky, the proprietor of the company and explained what I was looking for, an automatic table that could deal 136 Japanese Style tiles with the blank white Haku, the red fives, the Japanese style bird on the 1-sou tile, etc. She didn't have a table/tile set like that but she said she'd look into it for me. The amazing thing is that she actually did, and now she offers tables with Japanese tilesets. So I took a chance and ordered what looked like a great table... the W3S http://www.versatilemachinery.com/VMAMT-W3.php with http://www.versatilemachinery.com/Japan ... -Tiles.php tiles.
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Review

And am I glad that I did. I highly recommend this table for a number of reasons. Internally it seems to do its job very well, setting the tiles very quickly (15-20 seconds!!!) and rather quietly. The table itself has a great, refined look to it, IMHO far better than the "plastic toy" look of the Japanese tables. It comes with a cover that lets you use the table as a standard table when it's not Riichi night. The tiles themselves look just like a Japanese set in terms of tile design...the one caveat is that the tiles are 36mm in size, not the 29mm that I am used to for Japanese tiles. I got used to that pretty quickly though. Of course they include the typical four red fives. The table is just the right size for your walls, hand, and discards, and there is plenty of space on the center control panel to put your Riichi stick. The electronics of this table do not keep track of score, but they do keep track of Renchan and notify you when you need 2-han to win after on the 5th and later Renchan. They also indicate the dealer and roll the dice for you. The table can be set to deal many different numbers of tiles, in case you want to play different styles of Mahjong. As for what I paid, this very nice looking and performing table plus tiles was $1299 plus about $260 shipping to my door...it came in less than a week. One other thing - Vicky, the lady that I worked with at Versatile Machinery, provided perfect customer service throughout the whole process.

So, in short, I love my new automatic table, and my family wants to actually learn how to play now that they don't spend FOREVER mixing the tiles and building the walls. If you want an automatic table with Japanese style tiles, live in the US, and can deal with the 36mm tile size, I highly recommend this table.

I hope you enjoyed my story and my review; please ask me anything you want about the table. And if you do buy a table from her, tell her that "Dr. Andrew" told you about her and she'll know right away what you're looking for.

Thanks for reading!

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Barticle » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:24 am

That's really cool. :) This is great info for anyone in the US or Canada.

I see what you mean about the styling - their tables are nice pieces of furniture. Are you able to post a pic of the playing surface + tiles?

It's interesting to see they also offer "poker tiles" marked as western playing cards. That's a new one on me.

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Moah » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:56 pm

HI,

Can you show us your table and tiles? Also all links to the Versatile Machinery website return 403 forbidden for me.

Thank you,

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Referee » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:00 pm

Congratulations!

btw, I find Saki's +/-0 thing much more awesome, if way less spectacular, than the Rinshan thing. However, I'm reposting here the link of when I played against Miyanaga-san herself.
http://tenhou.net/0/?log=2011052507gm-0 ... tw=0&ts=15

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Kyuu » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:19 pm

Yea. Known about Versatile Machinery. Now, I have to ask: can the machines use riichi standard sized tiles?

And I mean, there're ridiculously small compared to Chinese sets. Username:Torgo linked an eBay notice for an auto table, which the seller put the start price at $400. However, the tile sizes were about equal to that of Filipino mahjong tiles (huge). Nevertheless, it has that little dial to enable it to count the different mahjong styles, including riichi. Yet, riichi with huge tiles may feel weird.

Personally, I wouldn't care about the tile size; but I don't have $400 for a mahjong table on my own. At least, I got to inspect it and helped the wife of the owner learn a bit more about mahjong.

EDIT: "If you want an automatic table with Japanese style tiles, live in the US, and can deal with the 36mm tile size, I highly recommend this table."

Oh derp. I shoulda read before asking. XD

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Aetheron » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:48 pm

First of all some pictures... http://imageshack.us/g/717/img0337du.jpg/

As for the tile size this is the one thing I (kind of) had to compromise on. I've seen standard Japanese tile sizes from 26mm to 29mm for automatic dealers and up to 33mm in manual playing sets. I naturally wanted to find something the same, but I quickly found that the small tiles are pretty much only used in Japan and that the Japanese, for the most part, build their own tables. So I went with the smallest tile size available from any of the non-Japanese manufactures, which ended up being 36mm. I noticed it for about 20 minutes of play and now I don't think it's an issue at all, because the size is kind of close to the 33mm's that I've used. I would probably have had a problem with the 40mm or 44mm sizes they offer though!

And yes, I totally forgot about the +/- Zero thing...if someone could actually do that... I have a special place in my heart for Rinshan Kaihou though, as I once had an amazing come from behind win with a Kazoe-Yakuman (Rinshan Kaihou, Menzen Tsumo, Chinitsu, Tanyao, Dora 4 [from the Kan Dora!!!]) in Circles...just like Saki! (except hers was WAY more improbably awesome) It's like she was cheering me on as I built that hand.

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Kyuu » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:05 pm

That thing looks "short". Is it a "compact" type?

If it is - I'd so go for that one - for the purpose of easy transporting.

EDIT:

"Dr. Andrew"... from Wisconsin, I presume?

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Aetheron » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:27 pm

I would not call it a compact table at all, it's about 250 lbs in weight, and it's standard table height. I know that Versatile Machinery has some fold up tables for easy transport, but I don't know which ones support the 36mm Japanese-style tiles...you'd have to ask Vicky.

Yes, Wisconsin is correct, Green Bay to be precise...do you know me? Do I know you???

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Kyuu » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:04 am

I was one of the 3 guys from Chicago - who came up to Anime Milwaukee back in February. We had the junk mat setup in the game room on the Saturday that weekend.

And I meant "Compact" as something that can be carried off into a car (with foldable back seats)... and lug the auto table places, relatively easily. (Even though, doing such a thing isn't difficult all-together).

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Aetheron » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:39 am

Yes of course, Anime Milwaukee! I knew it had to be either AMKE or someone from the California Tournament. Small world?

Anyway, I don't think you'd be able to fit this in the trunk of a car at all, even if you disassemble it...they had to use a moving company to deliver it in the first place.

But they also sell http://www.versatilemachinery.com/Folding-Table.php which I believe Vicky told me was compatible with the 36mm Japanese tiles. This seems to be a much lighter table (and cheaper!) than the one I have. In fact, it seems designed for travel, what with the removable base and all. Now that I have my furniture grade table if I ever get one for bringing to conventions and whatnot I'd probably go for an ultraportable like that.

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Necromus » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:36 pm

This company now has the 28mm size tiles used for Riichi. I'm going to be placing my order in the next couple weeks for one of these awesome tables. :D
Last edited by Necromus on Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by wavemotion » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:45 am

Sweet! I want an automatic MJ table. When I mention it, my wife gives me the look. :D

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by diddysinatra » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:37 pm

Nice table! The entire reason that I am making a mahjong game is that I wanted to have an automatic mahjong table of my own, but its - quite - spendy, and the wife would give me that same look, wavemotion lol. Writing up a fully customize-able game version is just a time-sink - and she got behind that idea right away, :lol: if she only knew...

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Necromus » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:24 pm

I really would like an Amos Ultima table. It sets up the wall, deals the hands and flips the Dora indicator. Also automatically keeps track of your point sticks. The problem is getting one to the US, and they are a lot more expensive. Doesn't mean I can't do some drooling. Haha! :D

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Re: FINALLY!!! Found and bought an automatic Mahjong table!

Post by Necromus » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:07 am

Well I just ordered my table today! They said it should ship before Friday so I'm looking forward to playing with it next week. The woman was amazed I was an American that was playing Riichi. She said she couldn't believe how many students at universities are really getting into the game. Nice lady. 8)

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