Mah Jong

The important bit!

The Mah Jong Group normally meets twice monthly at Townsend House on the second and fourth Fridays of each month at 2 30 pm.    Please remember to check the Calendar in case of any late changes to schedule or venue.

Our group is led by Pam Pettit, and she may be contacted at 01643 818956, or by email at

September 2021. On a warm and sunny day, a few members of the Group met in the Convenor’s garden for an enjoyable refresher session.  Now, with the easing of restrictions, we are able to officially re-start, with two meetings scheduled for September 10th and 24th.  New members are always welcome – just contact the Convenor for details.


image shows examples of mah jong tiles on a table

Mah Jong at the U3A Open day. Photo by Cherrie Temple

image shows a selection of Mah jong tiles
Mah jong tiles. Photo by Cherrie Temple

About the Group

We welcome players of all abilities, from complete beginners to experienced players.  There is a small charge at each session, normally between £2 and £3, purely to cover the cost of room hire.  The Group has 3 Mah Jong sets, but some members also own their own sets, and may bring them along  if the size of the group increases.  Anyone interested in joining us should contact Pam, the Convenor, and arrange to come along to a trial session.

About the game

A Mah Jong set comprises 144 tiles, decorated with Chinese symbols: Bamboo, Characters, Circles, Dragons, Winds, Flowers and Seasons.   These symbols first appeared in ancient China on discs or counters some 2000 years ago, and the game evolved over the centuries to become the game of Mah Jong as we know it.   The basic game bears similarities with the card game Rummy, in that players must try to complete a winning ‘hand’ of sets of 3 or 4 tiles that are identical, or form a numbered sequence, and thus declare ‘Mah Jong’.   Once the basic game has been mastered, players may advance to a wide variety of ‘Special Hands’, with exotic names such as Wriggling Snake, Triple Knitting and Greta’s Garden.   Skill is then introduced into the game as players decide which Hand to tackle according to the tiles they pick up.

Learning tools

We teach new players the game following the rules laid out in Max Robertson’s book ‘The Game of Mah Jong‘, supplemented by Susan Fifer’s book ‘Mah Jong: Game of the Four Winds: materials for U3A Groups‘.   A PDF file of the latter is available to download.   Because we play for fun however, we follow the practice of many Mah Jong Groups in tinkering with the rules a little, in order to make more of the Special Hands achievable, thus adding to our enjoyment.


Please note that there is also a Mah Jong beginners group starting in 2020 in Washford


Examples of online versions/ apps are:

These are chargeable after a short free trial period.


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