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Mah-jongg is a game that probably originated in China, where it has many variations. In 1920 Joseph P. Babcock, an American who had traveled in China, created a set of mah jongg rules for players in Western countries. Inventing his own terminology, he patented (obtained legal rights to make, sell, and use) the game under the trademark Mah Jongg. Soon it became immensely popular in the United States. Equipment for the most widely played version of the game consists of 152 tiles, which are small rectangular blocks of wood with ivory or bone faces. Mah jongg is played by four people whose goal is to accumulate sets of tiles. There are 108 suit (bearing the same symbol) tiles, 16 wind tiles, 12 dragon tiles, 8 flower tiles, and 8 joker ("wild") tiles. The three suits are bamboo (sticks), circles (dots), and characters (cracks). After the tiles are distributed among the players, the game proceeds under a set of highly complicated rules.

Further Information: "Mah Jongg." MSN Encarta. [Online] Available http://encarta.msn.com/find/Concise.asp?ti=00E6B000, October 23, 2000; Mah Jongg Wall. [Online] Available http: //www. cypresslane.com/mahjongg/, October 23, 2000.

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