Rinshan Kaihou at Connichi 2019

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Saturday, September 7th, 2019, it's about noon. An enthusiastic “Tsumo!” can be heard in the rooms of Games Unplugged at Connichi in Kassel. Logo of Connichi

If you have been at Connichi last weekend probably knows about it: we have been invited to Connichi 2019 in Kassel to show the world the joys of Riichi Mahjong.

Not all of us could get a day off. So Manuel and I left Cologne for Kassel at 15:00. We have 5 Sets and 4 Junkmats with us. We planned for a maximum of 2 to 3 tables, but it never hurts to have some extra.

A few hours later we check into the hostel, we quickly refresh ourselves and hurry to the convention with enough materials for 3 tables. We finally arrive by 19:00. We're welcomed by a surprise: people have been asking for us in the first few hours of the convention quite a lot. The section Games Unplugged is relieved to see us. Kai and Nico have been there quite early, but Manuel and I have had all the materials. We can finally fulfill the demand of Mahjong!

We set up a table and start teaching the game to interested people. For that, we adapt the Tibet Rules to our needs. The tables we are provided with aren't quadratic so we adapt to that by putting the mat diagonally. The demand just gets higher. We set up a 2nd table. I speak my mind: “If this continues, we might need to get another set from the car.”

On Saturday, we get visitors that already knew how to play and just want to play with us. Some even want to learn beatori. I'm still busy with teaching, but table 1 as finishing up their beginner lesson. So they play at table 1.

But as if the weekend hasn't already been eventful enough, some Japanese people turn up and want to play with us. I learn they have been looking for us on Friday. Sadly, I didn't get to play them. So if you want to hear more, you'll have to ask Nico or Manuel.

It's around noon. An enthusiastic “Tsumo!” can be heard in the rooms of Games Unplugged at Connichi in Kassel. I turn my head towards table 1. Nico announces his hand: “Suuankou tanki matchi!” Those who know what it means are in awe. To the others, we explain what a yakuman is. And what a double yakuman is.

By the way, congratulations to Nico for his first Yakuman! Mahjong Tiles: 六六六➁➄➄➄西西西北北北➁ 666m2555p333444z2p — suuankou tankimatchi (“double” Yakuman)

We get even more people. I look around, but there's no place for a third table. I walk around a bit. In the entrance area of the 2nd floor, there's still some space. Since the area of Games Unplugged is the whole 2nd floor I set up a table with high tables there. Those round tables are quite perfect in size. But you have to stand with those high tables. I swipe some high chairs from the balcony. After the lesson, I take the materials back into the room with me. The entrance area can't be locked up, and I'm not a fan of leaving our materials unattended.

On Sunday, we encounter a familiar problem: we need a 3rd table. So another table is set up in the entrance area. Since it's for a group of people that already play, I leave them and visit once in a while. A little later, I'm being called outside: “Thai, can you come quickly? We need help with scoring.” Of course, I get out to help. Huh? A very rare hand awaits me: Mahjong Tiles: 四四五五六七七八八九九88六 — 44556778899m88s6m — riichi ippatsu tsumo pinfu ryanpeikou (Haneman)

Sunday is nearing its end. It was an exhausting weekend. Exhausting, but fun. If the Connichi doesn't mind, we'd like to come next year as well. 

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