"Mahjong is a game that originated in China, commonly played by four players (with some three-player variations found in Korea and Japan). While the single player tile matching game mahjong solitaire is familiar in the West, in Asia it is the four-player table version which holds predominance and has little in common with the solitaire version other than using the same tiles. Similar to the Western card game rummy, mahjong is a game of skill, strategy and calculation and involves a certain degree of chance.
The game is played with a set of 136 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols, although some regional variations use a different number of tiles. In most variations, each player begins by receiving thirteen tiles. In turn players draw and discard tiles until they complete a legal hand using the fourteenth drawn tile to form four groups (melds) and a pair (head). There are fairly standard rules about how a piece is drawn, stolen from another player and thus melded, the use of simples (numbered tiles) and honours (winds and dragons), the kinds of melds, and the order of dealing and play. However there are many regional variations in the rules; in addition, the scoring system and the minimum hand necessary to win varies significantly based on the local rules being used. "