Riichi Rules Advice

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XFRod
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Riichi Rules Advice

Post by XFRod » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:14 am

Many of you here know that I run the Portland Mahjong Society. It started off with me, just looking for three other people that wanted to play. Now, in our fifth year, with over 275+ members... we've had hundreds of matches, social events, and we regularly teach the game at a local Chinese garden.

I've finally decided that our next step is to start hosting some riichi tournaments. Small at first... However, I have grand visions of tournaments that encompass the entire West Coast of the States. Who knows where it will lead but, I'm excited to find out.

You can't run a tournament without a rules set to run it by. We are now, trying to finalize what will be accepted as the "officially" recognized PMJS tournament riichi rules. This is where my request for advice comes into play.

What would your thoughts be on scoring Tanyao, much like a dora? 1 yaku but, not being eligible towards the 1 point minimum. I've never been a fan of open tanyao but, I do think it should be valued in combination with other scores, even exposed.

Is there another organization that has used this rule? If not, why? Would you scoff at such a rule if you were considering entering a tournament that enforced it?

As a "house" rule, it works for us. However, I'm hoping to draw people outside of just the PMJS for these tournaments. Any and all opinions would be appreciated.

Tom Sloper: I've read and, re-read your website for information about running a tournament however, I'd really like to pick your brain a bit more, if you have the time.

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by Shirluban » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:06 am

I think you should not kick tanyao out of the yaku list.
Concealed tanyao is not that easy to make, so it merits the full reward.
If you have a problem with open tanyao, there is already a working solution: simply don't allow open tanyao.

Why not making a poll to ask your "over 275+ members"?
Cats don't do タンヤオ (tan-yao) but タニャーオ (ta-nya-o).
World Riichi Championship Rules
Comparison of riichi rules around the world

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by Kyuu » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:46 am

Open or Closed Tanyao.

The game is playable either way. Within Tenhou.net (where I primarily play), there are rooms that allow either/or. Of course, I play where most everyone prefers -- Open Tanyao with Red 5's.

With any game of mahjong, there exists a static set of rules that are unchangeable, like turn order, tile setup, tile calls, etc. Yet, there exist rules that can be modified or enabled per "house" rules, which may be used on discretion. So, whatever rules y'choose to do, you are free to enable/disable whatever set of rules y'choose. Regardless, it is best to have some form of documentation on the rules for everyone to read; so that everyone has some clear understanding on the "house rules". The last thing you'd ever want is to encounter a situation, where a player encounters a particular rule and learns a case otherwise.

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by XFRod » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:40 pm

Polls are up on our website and Facebook pages. We'll get the members opinions. I'm leaning towards no Open Tanyao. Agreed that it shouldn't be removed from the yaku list. We'll see what the others want.

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by Senechal » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:35 pm

In short: forcing tanyao removes a minimum of 35% of all defensive play. If you're addicted to letting people make slow but big hands, then do what you want. How else could I win Copie 2010 if no one had ways to stop me?

However, I was witness to a peculiar behavior at my last EMA tournament. The youth (people that read and/or post to this site and another) were playing social games on the venue site Saturday evening with Tenhou standard rules (so ari-ari, tenpai-renchan). So out of 4 social tables, you had one MCR table going (ugh), one EMA riichi, and two ari-ari tables.

The people with the most energy to play now and in the future actively refuse to play EMA-style unless it's an actual tournament game. In a weekend in Copenhagen, I think some of us managed to cram in 3-4 games ari-ari style, namely at The Scottish Pub. This kind of behavior is impossible to reconcile with acceptance of the state of the EMA's nashi-ari ruleset, which mind you, does not exist elsewhere in the world unless imported as a *cough* "reference". Nashi-nashi does exist, but the concept of sakizuke is totally foreign to most western players. As I said nefore, the whole point of that hybrid ruleset unique in the world is to inflate the chances of color hands, toi-toi, increase the possibility that kokushi won't be blocked. HK style turning japanese, or chi-less MCR with funky points.


Last I heard, the people at the USPML are definitely not trending down that path, nor are the people in Montreal. Please, for the sake of riichi mahjong, do not invent fantasy rules in your ruleset. And please don't fall into the trap of thinking that because you made a poll online that it has any kind of legitimacy, democratic or otherwise. I can't even register a vote against it because I am not a member of either system you offered to vote with.


Side question: You are talking about 275+ members in your messages. How many are actually active, how many tables, so we can have a point of reference? Mahjong Montreal 1.0* easily had more than 500 members for a 10-year run but never more than a rotation of 40 active at any one time.

*now dead, a new structure is coming...

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by shinkiii » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:08 pm

This is just my opinion, but kuitan allows flexibility and is a good thing for mahjong. It is no easier or more difficult to get than an early fanpai/yakuhai, which allows the same kind of flexible but (usually!) low-scoring offensive play that relies on the dora tiles for hand value. It really depends on whether your members personally prefer ari-ari vs. nashi-nashi, since nashi is a completely different beast of a game that has its own merits. :)

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by wavemotion » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:55 pm

XFRod wrote:Many of you here know that I run the Portland Mahjong Society. It started off with me, just looking for three other people that wanted to play. Now, in our fifth year, with over 275+ members... we've had hundreds of matches, social events, and we regularly teach the game at a local Chinese garden.
I just wanted to chime in and say that's really cool and inspiring! My current makeshift mahjong group is around 8 - and it's a precarious number because if one or two can't make it, we're in an odd situation for seating/playing. I'd love to build up to something with more significant numbers. Kudos!

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by xKime » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:55 am

How does bastardizing the rules help for your purpose?

Ultimately, it is your users who should decide regardless of your personal standing, but most people I know who are any good at mahjong prefer open tan yao, as it is a primary part of its strategy.

I don't see why even put this up to vote. It's like making a chess tournament, and arranging a poll asking the players if they want to play with castling or not.

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by zzo38 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:17 am

xKime wrote:It's like making a chess tournament, and arranging a poll asking the players if they want to play with castling or not.
But that is chess; normally you will know, it is FIDE chess so it will follow FIDE rules, which includes castling; if you want to play a variant that is OK as long as you make it clear it is not a tournament using FIDE chess rules (and in such a case, you can use a poll if you want to).

But this is mahjong; there are different rulesets so you have to indicate which rules are being used. You can do this with the name of the rulesets used, but you could also do it by a poll, if you wanted to.

But you are correct that it doesn't have to be up to vote; it is up to the tournament organizers, what game is being played in this tournament.

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by Kyuu » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:24 pm

Often, I view the mahjong rulesets as a depiction of Asian countries not getting along with each other. It's to the point where they can't even agree to a particular ruleset to a game, such that they all have to come up with their own. As a consequence, mahjong as a game does not have a standardized ruleset. Even if someone were to try to create a standardized ruleset, that standardization has to cater to... well... "everyone". As a consequence, the ability for mahjong to "spread" is hindered.

Heck, for most people in America, mahjong is often referred to as mahjong solitaire.

Nevertheless, Japanese style CAN be standardized. (As well as all the others, even American). But for now, yes. Just gonna have to deal with "localized" rules, as long as they're specified. It can be pretty bothersome to have a rule enforced -- and -- not be informed about it.

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by xKime » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:54 am

zzo38, you are right, I am sorry. My analogy regarding chess and castling was a lot more logical and sane than the idea of the original post was. Let me correct with a different one:

It's like holding a chess tournament, and asking the players if they would rather have their bishops move diagonally or orthogonally. Or play with no bishops at all.

Sure, casual players might think "oh, hey, I've never played without any bishops before. That might be fun, it might even increase the strategical value of the game!", but the truth is that most competitive (and competent) players, myself included, would be drawn away from such an event. To quote a colleague:
Not being able to call some tiles or to grab a win was not enjoyable. In a game where trying to control your hand normally is like trying to drive a truck with your teeth, having more and more options taken away was like having them pulled out one by one by a 7-year-old with rusty pliers.
tl;dr it depends on what kind of player you are aiming this event at.

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by Senechal » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:13 am

http://riichi-2013.ru/en/uchastnikam/reglament/

This is the ruleset developed by our friendly neighbours from mother Russia.
Kuitan – ari – open tanyao is allowed.
Aka – nashi – no red fives are used.
Kuikae – ari – switching chi is allowed, but you can not discard the same tile you’ve opened on
Atodzuke – ari
Double yakumans – nashi – no double yakumans.
Pao – ari – the player who discarded the tile in the last set of daisangen/daisushi/suukantsu is responsible for the whole payment, if the yakuman was made by tsumo, and for the half of the payment, if the yakuman was made by ron.
Open riichi – nashi – open riichi is not allowed.
This is already going to be the biggest riichi tournament held on Russian soil, and it's a tournament that's rated MERS ... ... uhh... zero!

Why? It would be kind of moronic to peddle a "version/style/flavour" of Japanese mahjong, sanctioned by some foreign body, in a place called "Japan House". The Russians did this right: so should you. Stick with the most common ruleset: ari-ari mahjong (bolded for emphasis).

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by xKime » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:58 am

Senechal wrote:http://riichi-2013.ru/en/uchastnikam/reglament/

This is the ruleset developed by our friendly neighbours from mother Russia.
Kuitan – ari – open tanyao is allowed.
Aka – nashi – no red fives are used.
Kuikae – ari – switching chi is allowed, but you can not discard the same tile you’ve opened on
Atodzuke – ari
Double yakumans – nashi – no double yakumans.
Pao – ari – the player who discarded the tile in the last set of daisangen/daisushi/suukantsu is responsible for the whole payment, if the yakuman was made by tsumo, and for the half of the payment, if the yakuman was made by ron.
Open riichi – nashi – open riichi is not allowed.
This is already going to be the biggest riichi tournament held on Russian soil, and it's a tournament that's rated MERS ... ... uhh... zero!

Why? It would be kind of moronic to peddle a "version/style/flavour" of Japanese mahjong, sanctioned by some foreign body, in a place called "Japan House". The Russians did this right: so should you. Stick with the most common ruleset: ari-ari mahjong (bolded for emphasis).
I would most certainly take part on that. Many Russians are in fact respectable adversaries, and they got the right idea for rules.

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by Referee » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:05 am

That is a good set of rules. The only one I would disagree with is kuikae, but like many things in this awesome game, it's just a matter of preference.

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Re: Riichi Rules Advice

Post by xKime » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:18 am

Preference, indeed, or, like with most decisions in life, taking a position at random and then justifying that position with fabricated logic. We are merely human, after all. Though that is a philosophical/neurological debate better left for another time.

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