As the game of mah jong has gained world wide popularity it has changed with each culture it encounters. Japanese, Chinese, American, and even Eurpoean versions of the game exist. So depending on where you buy or play mah jong, you will encounter different mah jong design sets. So what are those designs. Taking a look at some of them can help you understand the differences the game has taken on as it has spread over the world.
Before world bans on the material, mah jong sets were commonly made of ivory. That is where the traditional ivory and white color tiles come from. They were elegant pieces with unique designs drawn on them that would relate to an individual, a family, or a klan at the time. Later, though, as the game spread there got to be more different mah jong design sets.
Sometimes the different mah jong designs may be made of animal bone. With durability and elegant color the bone can be processed to produce the glossy finish that is familiar to any who have played the game. This material dates back many years along with the use of ivory.
Today, many mah jong games are made using plastic. Hard white or ivory plastic of high grade can keep the tiles looking traditional. Since ivory is illegal in most all the world, duplicating its characteristics with plastic keeps tradition alive at all times.
No matter what material the tiles are made of, there are certain characteristics that may change depending on the version or design of the game. Though they are set up like cards with suits and numbers, the design on the back can be unique. Even today, custom tiles can be made with important symbols for a family or individual on the back of the tiles.
Though size on the tiles can vary for different mah jong design sets, there are traditional dimensions. The tiles are usually about 1-1/2 inches long by 1 inch wide. They can be set up on racks for viewing, not unlike the way you might view Scrabble tiles. This allows you to think out your play more easily. Each tile sill have numbers and a suit, and they will also often have the Chinese characters on them as well as a reminder of the game’s roots.
There are many other parts of different mah jong design sets that can be customized or changes. The box for storage may be wood, velvet, metal, or any other material. In addition, sets have dice that can be colored or sized to reflect a custom design as well. No matter what you do, though, you will still enjoy the game of mah jong.
Different mah jong design sets are as varied as are the people who play the game. The rules you play, what you pay for the set, who makes it, and who has it made can all influence the way it looks. Having a set for you can be very elegant looking and is something you can pass down. Since the game is thousands of years old, it doesn’t look like you will have to worry about it going anywhere.