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Just wanting to confirm whether I'm understanding these rules correctly. The rule set from which I'm deriving most of my (Rīchi-)Mahjong knowledge only has this short paragraph about tiles being worth han:

三元牌、圏風牌、門風牌を飜牌とし、その刻子、槓子組ごとに一飜とする。
連風牌はニ飜とする。

Which I translate to:

Elements tiles, prevailing wind tiles and player wind tiles are han tiles, with each triple or quad meld of them being worth one han.
Double wind tile melds are worth two han.

In a game with a one-han minimum requirement, does this mean if I have any element meld or a meld of any of the two relevant wind types, I can complete my hand? Meaning, it may be worth it to make a call for these tiles and opening my hand, even if the rest of my hand is not really worth much?

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Just to clarify, standard riichi mahjong has a one-yaku minimum to go out, not a one-han minimum. The difference between yaku and han is subtle, but important (dora and ura-dora provide han, but they are not yaku). –  goldPseudo Feb 8 '12 at 2:53
    
@gold That may be a difference in translation. The above rule set uses the term "han pai" and that these are worth one/two han. I also think the rule that specifies the minimum requirement also says han. I couldn't say whether this rule set is typical or necessarily the best though. :) –  deceze Feb 8 '12 at 4:09

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Your understanding is correct.

Yakuhai (役牌), also known as Fanpai (飜牌), is a 1-han yaku consisting of a pon/kan of any of the following:

  • Dragons (elements)
  • Your current seat wind
  • The current round wind (typically east or south)

As it is a yaku, it will net you the 1-yaku minimum required to complete your hand. It doesn't matter if the hand remains open or closed, so calling a discarded tile to complete the set is perfectly legal.

Whether it is the best choice in any circumstance is highly dependent on the rest of your hand; the point value of an open set is only half that of a closed set, and there are many other potential yaku which are unavailable when a hand is opened. In particular, you lose out on the ability to call riichi, which would also provide the 1-yaku minimum and give you a chance for ura-dora as well.

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Is this quoted from somewhere? If so, could you link to the source? –  ire_and_curses Feb 8 '12 at 21:06
    
@ire_and_curses: It's not a quote, I just used the notation for aesthetics so it would stand out –  goldPseudo Feb 8 '12 at 23:21

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