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Playdate: Mahjong Mornings II

Will this be the ron?

The crew of Giant Bomb invites you to join us for some fun times with video games.

Dec. 3 2020

Cast: Ben, Jan

Posted by: Jan

In This Episode:

Mahjong

57 Comments

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Rayeth

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MAHJONG MORNINGS BAYBEEEEEEEEE.

I have been fiending on Mahjong in Yakuza Like a Dragon since this went up. I still get my ass kicked at the hard tables but I can do ok at the normal ones now.

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pimanrules

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Edited By pimanrules

Some good progress this time! Y'all're definitely getting a grasp on the strategy, which means now it's just a matter of learning the rules. Some notes:

  • Looks like Bing wasn't giving you the English link for Mahjong Soul. It's here: https://mahjongsoul.game.yo-star.com/ (there's also official clients for iOS and Android, and an unofficial desktop client called "Majsoul Plus"). The way you log in is weird since it doesn't use a password, so maybe figure that out before stream next time. You can also safely ignore the gacha--it's purely cosmetic.
  • Glad you've figured out yaku--like I said last time, a good first few yaku to learn aside from riichi are "tanyao" and "yakuhai." The yaku list is intimidating, but there's no need to learn it all at once--you'll pick them up as you go.
  • Ben really nailed the risk-reward of opening your hand—it limits your options in terms of yaku you can go for (in addition to locking in some of your tiles and revealing them to your opponents), but makes it much easier to complete your hand.
  • Now that you understand yaku, you’re in a good position to learn on your own as you play, but there are two rules (I can think of) that you might want to know about because they may cause you to lose without understanding why: furiten and kuikae. You almost ran into kuikae in this stream, but it seems like the flash client doesn’t implement it. Furiten is a real asshole, though.
  • As you learn more yaku, you’ll want a good yaku chart. This is the one I use, which I like because it fits nicely on one page/screen. Just keep in mind that the English names for the yaku are not standardized (and people will often use the Japanese names), so it can be a little tricky to cross reference. And again, remember that you don’t need to worry about learning the entire chart at once—start with the basics and learn one or two at a time as you go. (It’s fun to read and fantasize about yakuman, though).
  • Pronunciation: definitely the least important part, and you'll pick it up if you play a client like Mahjong Soul where the characters say calls out loud (unless you're playing as Ichihime lol), but Japanese pronunciation is actually really simple--there are just five vowels (a, e, i, o, and u) and they're (for the most part) always pronounced the same. "Han," "man," and "kan" all rhyme (like "Han Solo") and "ron" and "pon" rhyme (similar to the "pon" in "pony"). If you want, here's a link to Google Translate with a bunch of random Mahjong terms if you want to hear it pronounce them (the translation will of course be nonsense).
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janman

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janman  Staff
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ratamero

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Edited By ratamero

I can't believe we need to change the name of this feature to "This is the Ron".

(also I'll second a lot of the advice above: Mahjong Soul is extremely legit and you can largely ignore the gacha/cosmetic stuff; riichi, yakuhai and tanyao are probably the yakus you'll want to have in your pocket at all times, and when you're more comfortable with the game you'll see that most other yakus make sense and are not stuff you'll need to go out of your way to memorize)

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seanblah12

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Richii Round?

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zacyzacy

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I knew nothing about mahjong before monday, now I am totally on board!

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YapaPanda

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Honestly, I would watch a GB feature where the duders just put together hypothetical orders from fast food places

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laetic

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Got a fun fact for Ben's pon question: anyone can pon (not just player on the left) because it's not possible for more than one person to take the pon. There are 4 of each tile, you need 2 to be able to pon and the person discarding has 1. No one else can have 2 of that tile! Doesn't really help you learn mahjong at all but hey!

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captubaplayer

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Loving this series. Thanks!

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SubliminalKitteh

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wow around me, olive garden items are like 4-5 bucks cheaper than what jan can get...

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Zelnox

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It starts out like Marriage Story with Ben as Adam Driver.

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eccentrix

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eccentrix  Online

I was worried this was going to be another of Ben's joke series and they'd never get to the mahjong, but I wasn't disappointed.

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heatDrive88

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Someone hand Ben an Academy Award after that intro.

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lyrebird

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You guys made great progress today! It was a thrill to see you slowly start to grasp the concepts.

Forcing yourself to try and play with a closed hand was a good move! Being able to call Riichi means you can just focus on satisfying a basic hand, which can be a lot less daunting.

-

One thing to note from your first game, at 30:32, the player opposite you called Pon on three green dragon tiles. They opened their hand here, but there's a reason!

These honor tiles are special and a triplet (open or closed) counts as a yaku. Meaning they can win with an otherwise open basic hand. This is a good early strategy, and an easy yaku to remember.

For example, if you start a hand with two dragon tiles, it can be worthwhile to hold on to both. If another player discards a third, you can call Pon, open your hand, and then just focus on completing the rest of your melds.

From this point, you can continue to call Pon and Chii, picking up whatever discards you need, without backing yourself into a corner like you did in that round (where your hand was open, but you had no yaku, meaning you couldn't really win).

Hope this helps! Loving the series.

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lyrebird

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Another random note:

Clubhouse Games on the Switch has a pretty good version of Riichi Mahjong that's worth checking out.

It's not perfect, but one nice detail is that you can tap a button for recommendations. It'll evaluate your hand, and provide a couple yaku that you're reasonably close to / might want to try building toward.

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TheDigitalistic

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The first 20 minutes of this video is way more entertaining than it probably should be, and now I feel like I would watch a whole series of this.

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ANiMATR0Ni0

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ive seen some cute anime girl gacha mahjong that i mistake for genshin on my timeline from time to time.. why arent you playing that.. oh alright they found it at the end, Nice.

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rokettopanchi

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Mahjong Soul def has a bunch coomer bait, but it's the still best version of Riichi Mahjong I've found. Easy to get matches and play with your friends. You can also play as a talking dog. And when you max out your character, they say all the yaku of the hand you dunk with. Pretty satisfying.

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sloppyjoe

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I love these, and I'm actually learning from these videos

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RoyalGhost

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Edited By RoyalGhost

This is a very good premise guys I hope you become Mahjong pros!

You guys should watch Akagi its sooooooo good. Like it makes me want to be good at Mahjong. Kaiji is also good but its less Mahjong focused and more just gambling.

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TARMANDER

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Why is GB ordering food consistently some of the best content?

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longevitous

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Jan, yes get an air fryer. I use mine everyday and I wish I got a bigger one.

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shrinerr

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still hate you, Larry

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DoctorOdds

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Does it help to yell at my screen when they make a different move than they should?

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squigiliwams

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This video made me go unlock Mahjong in FFXIV.

Also, the name of the quest to unlock Mahjong in FFXIV is Every Little Thing She Does is Mahjong

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Suits

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That subtitle though

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FlabbyChris

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I'm really loving these! It's so fun to watch and learn along with you two and the chaos is so fun to watch. Feel like I'm slowly learning about mahjong

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cyborgx7

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@royalghost: Thanks for the recommendation on Akagi. I absolutely love it so far.

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Bleichman

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Edited By Bleichman

Nice progress!

It would be fun it they finished this feature with some Mahjong in Yakuza, I know the basics just because I wanted the platinum in those games :)

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Bleichman

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I also think the symbols are easier to read in those games, they look tiny in this browser version

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Giefcookie

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This video made me go unlock Mahjong in FFXIV.

Also, the name of the quest to unlock Mahjong in FFXIV is Every Little Thing She Does is Mahjong

As a dumb convergence of different rabbit holes I'm currently in, I was just watching a bunch of VTubers streaming them playing Mahjong in FFXIV.

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Kimblee

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Edited By Kimblee

Yes please try Mahjong Soul, pretty good lobby options. the intro quiz is a nice checkup of your knowledge about basic play.

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Gundato

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On the note of air fryers:

If you are getting a big one, just get a convection (toaster) oven. More or less the same thing but a LOT more versatile. Friend remodeled their entire kitchen a year or so ago and had to live off the convection toaster oven for a while. Remodel is done but they still just use that more often than not.

But as an apartment dweller, I just got the air fryer lid for my instant pot. REALLY good homemade french fries and heating up frozen nuggets. But also just good for pseudo-broiling stuff. And it takes up very little room (beyond the initial instant pot).

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CatsAkimbo

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Edited By CatsAkimbo

I've been playing mahjong soul and fwiw, the anime gacha stuff is all cosmetic and really off to the side. It's a very good riichi client at its core, and the playerbase is less sweaty than the others I've tried.

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heatDrive88

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THIS IS THE RON

(this series is really fucking great FYI, please keep it goin, i can't wait until the next one)

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Giglianomiro

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PLAY MAHJONG IN FFXIV

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trelution

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Edited By trelution

I'm loving this feature and the Olive garden part of this was perfect. But that alfredo they said should serve 4-6 I could eat solo.

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badseed

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More like Pon farr am i right?... anyone?

Honestly, I would watch a GB feature where the duders just put together hypothetical orders from fast food places

Yes, god yes!

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FPF

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Everyone remembers their first chombo.

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planetary

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Please cut the interminable bulls*t preamble and get to the damn game.

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benpack

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Edited By thepotatoman

They're already very close to the level of understanding I got to win the Mahjong tournament in Yakuza Kiwami 2 (after like 5 manual loads at the championship so I didn't have to replay the whole tournament).

I think every winning hand was just a Tsumo with a Riichi, except one hand of all pairs because all pairs is a pretty easy hand to remember counts as a win.

I'm looking forward to learning how to benefit from opening your hand, or how things are scored, or how to read opponents, if they ever get that far.

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astrophyle

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I miss Olive Garden. Perfect weekend lunch: Soup/Salad, Wine, and Tiramisu.

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LonelySpacePanda

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That Olive Garden segment had me laughing so hard. This is the gaming content I crave!

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CharAznableCustom

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I was worried Ben complaining about Jan doing homework was going to become a semi-serious thing. I don't need ultra expert mahjong but them getting significantly better over the course of the series would be way cooler than having to re-learn the basics every time.

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chrjz

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Edited By chrjz

@thepotatoman said:

They're already very close to the level of understanding I got to win the Mahjong tournament in Yakuza Kiwami 2 (after like 5 manual loads at the championship so I didn't have to replay the whole tournament).

I think every winning hand was just a Tsumo with a Riichi, except one hand of all pairs because all pairs is a pretty easy hand to remember counts as a win.

I'm looking forward to learning how to benefit from opening your hand, or how things are scored, or how to read opponents, if they ever get that far.

I just started trying to play because of these videos and playing a closed hand seems significantly harder. The benefit to an open hand is that you have access to other players' discards to make your melds. If you open your hand there are fewer yaku and less han, I think... Going for tanyao or yakuhai is an easy way to do it but you're not going to get many han.

For the record, I don't know what I'm talking about. I just watched these videos and then started playing that Mahjong Soul game.

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CharAznableCustom

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@chrjz said:
@thepotatoman said:

They're already very close to the level of understanding I got to win the Mahjong tournament in Yakuza Kiwami 2 (after like 5 manual loads at the championship so I didn't have to replay the whole tournament).

I think every winning hand was just a Tsumo with a Riichi, except one hand of all pairs because all pairs is a pretty easy hand to remember counts as a win.

I'm looking forward to learning how to benefit from opening your hand, or how things are scored, or how to read opponents, if they ever get that far.

I just started trying to play because of these videos and playing a closed hand seems significantly harder. The benefit to an open hand is that you have access to other players' discards to make your melds. If you open your hand there are fewer yaku and less han, I think... Going for tanyao or yakuhai is an easy way to do it but you're not going to get many han.

For the record, I don't know what I'm talking about. I just watched these videos and then started playing that Mahjong Soul game.

If you don't care about winning a lot of points then playing Japanese/riichi mahjong is super easy. Just collecting a set of dragons if your hand is open or cobbling together some garbage and calling riichi is very simple.

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bludgeoner86

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Ben and Jan. I'm really enjoying this feature despite only dabbling a small amount in Mahjong myself. I might be echoing what pimanrules said earlier but really my only serious exposure to the game is through Yakuza, which I'm surprised Ben didn't mention because it really does have a robust rule book on how to play in the game and (I'll elaborate below) the characters voice the names of the moves which I think is important.

Your phonetics could use some work and Japanese may be hard to learn but you can pronounce a lot of words keeping this simple tip in mind. All Japanese words are based around the sound A I U E O and those sounds are pronounced the same way with every word.
A = (Like the A in "August")
I = (Like the 'ea' part in "Eat")
U = (Like the like 'ou' sound in "You"
E = (Like the E in "Ben")
O = (like the 'o' in "Coke")

Once you get this down then anything that follows, for example, Kan, you would be aware would sound like Khan (like Genghis Khan)

Like I said this is kind of a retread of what was said earlier but hopefully this feedback has been helpful ✌