Rule variations

The rule of Ready – Voluntary Ready declaration (the Rule of Riichi)

Voluntary Ready declaration (jap. rii chi = "ready") is typically used in Japanese Mah Jong, but appears occasionally in other versions, too (even Western, e.g., Italian and French versions use a slightly modified version of this rule). It is used by default in the Japanese Transitional and Japanese Modern rule presets, as well as in the Korean and WMPA rule presets. The rule has probably evolved from the simple concept of "Original call" (ready on first discard), which is acknowledged in Chinese Classical rules, but as the options and the tables below show, it is far from simple as it is used today.

Many consider that the rule of Riichi has too strong an effect on the nature of the game as it encourages collecting quick and easy concealed hands at the expense of defensive strategies. It also accentuates the gambling element in the game: though the reward itself is not high (normally the declaration pays one extra double or han), a Riichi hand, combined with other bonus (e.g. for the Dora tiles),  easily produces fairly high scores. 

Declaring ready also involves a clear risk, since if the player does not win on a hand declared ready, he usually has to pay a certain amount (normally 1,000 points) to the winner. And the risk of losing is high, since the declaration warns other players (who naturally do their best to see that the declarer does not win), and especially as the declarer is forced to discard any non-winning tile he draws from the Wall, thus risking becoming a discarder (who in Japanese games always pays for all losers). 

However, the rule is enormously popular in modern Japanese Mah Jong, much of the same reasons it is opposed: it adds suspense to the game and makes it possible to make a fair profit on easy Chow-based hands.

To specify rule of Riichi:
  1. Choose Preferences on the File menu (quit an ongoing game, if any).
  2. From the Rule Presets list, choose a customized rule preset.
  3. Choose Ready rule under the Rules section of the category tree.
  4. Choose Voluntary (Riichi) on the drop down list at the top of the page.
  5. Specify options you wish to use with the rule by clicking the Options button (see descriptions for options below).
  6. Specify how the ready declaration should be validated (see section below) by using the Validate the declaration option.

Options for the voluntary ready declaration

Several options are available for this rule. To access the options for the Ready declaration, click the Options button. The displayed dialog box has the following settings:

Prerequisites (always checked, never penalized):
After declaration:
Penalizable rules:

Scoring

The scoring for going out with a hand declared Ready is specified in the Winning section of the Scoring list (on the Sets and Patterns page under the Scoring section in the category tree of the Preferences dialog box). 

Penalties

Often the rules specify a cost for declaring ready (traditionally each player who declares ready places a counter on top of his hand to mark it ready). Since the winner collects these counters, they are practically a sort of penalty for failing to go out on a ready hand, and are handled and reported as penalties in Four Winds. These penalties can be specified only if the rule of Voluntary ready declaration is enabled

Penalties for not winning the hand with a hand declared ready:
Penalties for faulty declaration of Ready:

Validation of the Ready declaration

 

Validation of the Ready declaration is done according to the setting of the Validate the declaration option on the Ready rule option page.

  1. If the option is checked (as in most rules that use ready declaration), Four Winds checks that the player really needs only one tile to complete the hand, and, if the rule of Sacred Discard is used and the player is not allowed to declare ready with a Sacred hand (see option below), that the player does not have a sacred hand. The hand is validated after the player makes his discard after the declaration. 

Validation at the time of declaration makes it practically impossible to use the ready declaration for bluffing. Notice too, that penalties for faulty ready declaration are not applied, even if they have been specified. When playing over the network, the other players, however, are notified of the illegal declaration.

  1. If the option is not checked, and the player subsequently declares Out on a faulty ready hand, this is considered a faulty Out, and appropriate penalties must be paid. If the deal ends in a draw, penalties for faulty declaration of Ready (if specified) are still applied.

Note: If there are restrictions on the winning hand, e.g., a minimum point requirement or prohibition of mixed suits, these conditions are checked only if the hand is locked after the declaration. The minimum point requirement is checked only if the Check hand against minimum points option (see above) is used. The hand is not checked against availability of tiles: if the hand cannot be completed because of all tiles required to complete it have already been played, it can be declared ready (the only exception being the case where the player's hand already contains all four pieces of the tile that is needed for winning this is considered a faulty ready declaration as no hand can depend on existence of more than 4 similar tiles, unless jokers are used).

For detailed information, see the tables below.

a) Table over how Four Winds resolves violations against the Ready rule at the time of the declaration
The Ready rule is probably the most complex rule of Mah Jong. Since Four Winds simulates the game flow of real Mah Jong (rather than making decisions for the user), the user is hardly ever prohibited from making mistakes. However, the consequences of rule violations can be customized. As for violations of rule of Ready, Four Winds can act in a number of different ways, depending on the selected options.
Validate the declaration option on Validate the declaration option off
No penalties for faulty declaration of ready Penalties for faulty declaration of ready No penalties for faulty declaration of ready Penalties for faulty declaration of ready
Player declares Ready on a hand that does not meet the pre-requisites (concealed hand, 8 tiles rule) Not allowed, declaration canceled. Not allowed, declaration canceled, no penalties. Not allowed, declaration canceled. Not allowed, declaration canceled, no penalties.
Player declares Ready on a structurally illegal hand (e.g. hand cannot be completed to 4 sets and a pair or to an irregular winning hand, it has too many Chows, or too many suits, etc.) Player is informed about violation, ready hand is canceled. Player is informed about violation, ready hand is canceled, no penalties. If the user declares Out, penalties for faulty Out are applied. Otherwise no consequences. If the user declares Out, penalties for faulty Out are applied. If the player does not declare Out, he may still be penalized for a faulty declaration of Ready (if specified).
Player declares Ready on a hand that does not meet the minimum point requirement (and checking of minimum points is enabled by using the option above) Player is informed about violation, ready hand is canceled. Player is informed about violation, ready hand is canceled, no penalties. If the user declares Out, penalties for faulty Out are applied. Otherwise no consequences. If the user declares Out, penalties for faulty Out are applied. If the player does not declare Out, he may still be penalized for a faulty declaration of Ready (if specified).
Player declares Ready while having a winning tile amongst his discards (and Missed/discarded winning tile makes the hand dead option is checked) Player is informed about violation, ready hand is canceled. Player is informed about violation, ready hand is canceled, no penalties. If the user declares Out, penalties for faulty Out are applied. Otherwise no consequences. If the user declares Out, penalties for faulty Out are applied. If the player does not declare Out, he may still be penalized for a faulty declaration of Ready (if specified).
b) Table over how Four Winds resolves violations against the Ready rule after the declaration is made
The following table summarizes violations after  the declaration of ready is made and lists the possible consequences.
No out penalties Out penalties
Player discards a winning tile (and Sacred Discard rule is applied in absolute mode)
Require going out on the first possible self-drawn tile
option is not checked, AND 

Missed/discarded winning tile makes the hand dead option is not checked

Player is informed about the violation and is not allowed to go out on any discard. Player is not informed, any subsequent claim results in faulty Out.
Player discards a winning tile and either
Require going out on the first possible self-drawn tile
option is checked, OR
Missed/discarded winning tile makes the hand dead option is checked.
Player is informed about the violation and is not allowed to go out in any way (his hand is dead).
Note: If the deal ends in a draw the offender pays penalties for faulty declaration of Ready (if specified).
Player is not informed, any subsequent declaration of Out (whether by discard or by self-drawn tile) results in faulty Out. 
Note: If the player does not declare Out, he may still be penalized for a faulty declaration of Ready (if specified).
Player misses a discard he could have used to go out and Require going out on the first possible discard is checked
Missed/discarded winning tile makes the hand dead option is not checked.
Player is informed about the violation and is not allowed to go out on any discard. Player is not informed, any subsequent claim results in faulty Out.
Player misses a discard he could have used to go out and Require going out on the first possible discard is checked
Missed/discarded winning tile makes the hand dead option is is checked.
Player is informed about the violation and is not allowed to go out in any way (his hand is dead).
Note: If the deal ends in a draw the offender pays penalties for faulty declaration of Ready (if specified).
Player is not informed, any subsequent declaration of Out (whether by discard or by self-drawn tile) results in faulty Out. 
Note: If the player does not declare Out, he may still be penalized for a faulty declaration of Ready (if specified).

Tip: If you apply the voluntary Ready rule, you might want to check the Pay points after a draw and For ready hands only options on the Winning & Draw page under the Rules section of the category tree. For more information, see Draw rules Paying points after a draw.

Procedures:
Declaring Ready

Related topics:
Obligatory Ready declaration
Ready on original hand
Ready on first turn