So when introducing people Riichi Mahjong, the most common questions I get are:
- “Where do I get a set?”
- “How much is a set?”
Usually, people are shocked to hear the sets I use are imported and about upwards of 200 bucks, but then as an advanced player, one can be quite picky when buying their own set. So this post is about sets under 100 bucks, and I’m primarily looking for sets that don’t need racks. Also, since I’m based in Germany, you might not be able to find these sets that easily anywhere else.
Jaques London Luxury Mahjong Set
Jaques London is a toy manufacturer in the UK. Among their lineup, they have their Luxury Mahjong Set. At the time of writing, it is around 65 Euros or 70 Pounds Sterling, and it’s by no means a luxury product. The leather case is
garbage not well assembled. The trays are too big, which might be better for getting the tiles out, but not good for transporting it, at least with just its case. But it’s the tiles we’re most interested in, so how are they?
They are white tiles with white back. This isn’t great for Riichi. Sure, you can get used to it, but they are quite a bother to play with. When you see a blank space, you don’t know if it’s the back side or actually a haku. Granted, this set uses the Chinese-style bing for a haku, but when you mainly play Riichi, this isn’t something to think of. There are Arabic Numerals and Western letters on the tiles, which can help players, that can’t read the characters yet, which is why I’m still mentioning this set despite my gripes about it. The dimensions of the tiles are slightly slimmer than usual Riichi sets. With their usable weight, the tiles stand rather stable on the table.
Unusual for a set with a Chinese-style bing, this set comes with tenbo. Other than they exist, I can’t say any positive about them: they are made from very cheap, brittle plastic. In the end, when I was transporting the set back from trying out the set with Rishan Kaihou Cologne, the case broke, and I returned it to Amazon. But if you’re still interested, I’m putting some Amazon links to it here:
Just like Jaques, Philos is a toy manufacturer. They are based in Germany, and have multiple mahjong sets. The Philos 3166 is actually a good set! It costs about the same as the Jaques London set aboveo, but I believe it’s only available in Germany. It comes in a wooden chest. There’s no chips or tenbo, it’s just the tiles and dice. So in the end, this is effectively slightly more costly.
The tiles are white with green back. And like the other set, it features Arabic numbers and Western letters. It also has bing for haku.
The dimensions of the tiles are slightly wider and slimmer than usual Riichi sets. With their usable weight, the tiles stand rather stable on the table.
If you’re interested in this set, make sure to look for the Philos 3166 and not the Philos 3267. The latter is a “travel” set with miniature tiles. There’s also the Philos 6322, which is a set completely made from wood.
I haven’t tried this one yet, but the AMOS Max set was recommended over on Reddit.
Unlike the two other sets, this one doesn’t have the Arabic numbers and Western symbols. And its colours are, like most Japanese sets, quite dark.
Even though you have to import this set from Japan, at the time of writing, it ends up about the same price as the other two. If only there were sets with red back… Yes, they are bigger than the usual tiles, and it takes time getting used it. But after a while, they kinda grow on you.