My Sunday Photo: Mahjong masters

Our game-loving children returned from Malaysia with a new obsession: mahjong.

Mahjong is a Chinese game, similar to gin rummy but played with tiles rather than cards. No surprise, all three kids soon picked up the rules and basic tactics. They played it for hours on end in Malaysia and have continued to play it since we returned home.

It’s a game that appeals to the senses. All four players mix the tiles together at the start of each hand, not just a single dealer. If you walk through any Chinese community late at night you will hear the familiar clacking of tiles being shuffled.

The kids love it and our games perfectly reflect their characters. Kara is fiercely competitive, determined to hold her own against everyone else. She’s all about drama and expressive hand gestures. Toby tends to be silent but deadly. He’s a study in concentration – he stealthily takes everything in and has a natural flair for strategy. Isaac is out of shot here but he’s more vocal than his brother and deals strictly in logic.

It’s been great that their interest in the game hasn’t just been a holiday flirtation. Heather and I used to play regularly with my parents, long sessions that would extend deep into the early hours. It will be great to add the kids to the mix going forward. I look forward to being able to play mahjong more in the future across three generations of our family. It’s just another thing that brings us closer together.

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