The classic board game Mahjong feature a set of tiles, or playing cards. Many Mahjong sets feature a set of chips or bone tiles for scoring, and indicators to point out the dealer and the Prevailing Wind of the round. Other game sets may include racks to hold tiles or chips; however the dealers rack will be different.
A set of tiles may vary depending on the type of mahjong set, it will usually have at least 136 tiles, but 144 is common, although other sets may have more tile. The tiles are divided into the categories of: suits, honor and flowers.
Suits Dots: Named as such because each tile consists of a number of circles. Each circle is said to represent copper coins with a square hole in the middle.
Honor Wind tiles: Are made up of East, South, West, and North.
Dragon tiles: Feature the colors red, green, and white.
Flower tiles: The last category and typically optional components to a set of tiles, these game pieces often contain artwork on them and represent plum, orchid, chrysanthemum, and bamboo. There are also tiles that represent the seasons spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The suits of the tiles are money-based.
In ancient China, the copper coins had a square hole in the center. The Chinese passed a rope through the holes to tie coins into strings. In the Mahjong suits, the coppers represent the coins; the ropes are actually strings of 100 coins; and the character myriad represents 10,000 coins or 100 strings.
In the American variation or Western version, it is required that before each hand begins, a Charleston is enacted. This consists of a procedure where three tiles are passed to the player on one's right, followed by three tiles passed to the player opposite, followed by three tiles passed to the left. If all players agree, a second Charleston is enacted, followed by an optional pass to the player across of one, two or three tiles. This is a distinctive feature of American-style mah jong set that may have been borrowed from card games.
In present day, the popularity and the characteristics of players of mahjong vary from one country to the other. There are several governing bodies, which host exhibition games, tournaments, and other events worldwide. It is a board game that is far more popular in Asia countries than in the West. There are various accessories for the mahjong set that include extra tile, push out arms, racks and custom trays.