Learn how to win a game of mahjong at this monthly game night

Learn your tongs from your tiaos with language centre GoEast

Photograph: chrisjtse via Flickr
If you've lived in Shanghai, chances are you've seen elderly folks gathered in the parks passionately playing mahjong, and you had no clue what was going on. For those who have been dying to know what the game is all about, here's one for you. Chinese language centre GoEast puts on a monthly mahjong night for people wanting to learn the ins and outs of the (surprisingly straightforward) game, and it's pretty damn fun.

GoEast teaching, GoEast (cropped)
Photographs: courtesy GoEast

The monthly mahjong night starts off with the basics. First, the school’s staff introduce the various categories of tiles – tong, tiao, wan and so on – and how they’re used in the game. From there, you learn the different combinations that allow you to win, as well as a few techniques to help you along the way.

GoEast playing with teacher, GoEast (cropped)

After a rundown of the various tiles and rules, it’s time for a round of mock gameplay. For this first round, everyone plays with their tiles displayed openly on the table. Under the guidance of the GoEast team, you learn how things work and get turn-by-turn advice on which moves each person should make. Once that's finished, you play a round or two (or three) the proper way with your tiles concealed in a real game of mahjong.

GoEast playing alone, GoEast (cropped)

The whole experience runs about two hours, during which you’ll learn heaps about the game, make a few friends and maybe find some playing partners along the way. But you might want to attend a few more classes before trying to take on the pros in the park.

Follow WeChat ID 'GoEastLanguage' or visit its website for more information on upcoming events.

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