In Pingyao, we had a free afternoon and chose to get a lesson on Mahjong. It turns out that computer games are deceiving, one does not simply need to match the tiles with another tile in the set. Instead it is a game best played in groups of 4 and similar to gin rummy. There are sets of tiles – sticks, coins, directions, and numbers – and one tries to get pairs or runs. The directions though do not allow for runs as there is no order to them.
Our guide made up a handy dandy cheat sheet of the Chinese numbers and the things we needed to shout when we could complete a run or pair in order to take tiles from other players. We had great fun playing and couldn’t believe that 3 hours had passed when it was time for dinner. I would like to note that my partner and I won the first game we played!