- The player who sits to the east goes first in the game. This is determined by taking one of each wind tile (east, west, north and south) and having each player draw a tile to see where she sits.
- The Wall is assembled with the tiles in stacks two tiles high and 18 long on each side. The players "break the Wall" by taking the tiles they will start the game with drawing 13 to 16 tiles each (depending on the type of game) from the Wall.
- On the start of the turn, each player draws a tile from what's left from the wall (or the discard pile) and discards a tile at the end of the turn. During the turn, he can declare melds and reveal them on the table, removing them from the hand.
- A pong is three identical tiles while a kong has four and an eye has two. A chow is three tiles of different types in numerical order.
Other Meld Rules
- An eye can't be built from a discarded tile, while a chow can only be made from a discarded tile if the tile was discarded by the one to the player's left (unless the chow can immediately win the game). If a kong is assembled from drawn tiles, it must be declared.