What a Bit of Game Theory Can Teach Us by Paul Lederer

Saw this post on the Chicago Mahjong Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/chicagomahjong/ and thought this would be of interest to some — Frenetic

Today I would like to talk about choices and options. Mahjong is a game, and like most games it has options for you to consider and choices that you as the player must make–choices like what to discard, or if you should call or if you should declare riichi.

Now I am not a very experienced Mahjong player, but I am a very experienced game player and what I have learned from basic game theory has let me pretend to know what I am doing in Mahjong to the point where I have people fooled that I’m actually good, and in most games there is one theme that prevails: the player with the most options is highly favored to win. Choices are also what separates a good player from a bad one, as good players make more good choices and bad players make more bad choices. Chess and Go are both zero sum games of open information, and in both games the goal is to remove all options from your opponent. Mahjong is not zero sum, and also it isn’t open information. There is also a decent amount of random chance involved. However, I feel that maximizing your options is key to every good Mahjong player’s strategy(interesting note: Two player zero sum games are more about removing your opponent’s options, while 4 player free for all games are more about maximizing your own options).


Tournament rulesets must be simple

This article of mine was well-received on #osamuko this afternoon. As recommended by osamu, I’ll cross-post it here. :-)

Why game rulesets for tournament play must be simple

This post was inspired by a discussion during the EMA RCR rules revision (Japanese mahjong tournament rules). However, you don’t have to play the game to understand this, this is general ruleset design.

Here are reasons why simplicity is an important design goal.


Blunt but honest mahjong discussion

It is not unusual that people ignorant to certain aspects of a topic will speak about them anyway. This is usually what an opinion is, and people feel a need to expose their opinions in public for different reasons. By extension, it is only natural they they will communicate such views online as well, on blogs or forums. However, sometimes, if what they are exposing doesn’t fulfill certain standards of “correctness”, they will get called on it by someone. At that point, a number of things may occur:


Playing a good game, and losing

“I didn’t deal in even once, and still got fourth.” “The other three people totally sucked, but I ended up last.” “I played a perfect game, and I still lost!”

Yeah, hold it right there. I think you’re overestimating yourself. Or at least, you’re not looking at your game objectively. From the moment you think you didn’t make any mistakes, you’re just fooling yourself.





Lack of French oversight relating to Mahjong gambling

Hello, again!
I found a site thanks to one of my feeds that was talking about legalized mahjong gambling (at http://skill-games.pro talking about http://www.gameduell.fr/mahjong.html and http://www.skill7.fr/Jeux-de-plateaux/Mahjong/#/help ). OK, so I check the site itself, and it is saying that you can gamble on solitaire Mahjong (commonly called Shanghai, Taipei, since it’s anything but Mahjong). Let’s do some basic investigation! (more…)