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We Are The Dragons

mah jongg dragon tiles
The dragons …

Have you ever played Mah Jongg?

If not, let me tell you a little about the game.

There are tiles, and each tile has a face that identifies it. There are three suits and then there are special tiles as well.

The three suits are sticks, stones, and characters, also called bamboo, circles and wan. In each suit there are four tiles for each number from one to nine.

In the game you can collect runs like one, two, three, or you can collect three or four of the ones. These collections must be in the same suit. So you could have a set of seven, eight, and nine of stones, or you could have three or four tiles that were all something like four sticks.

I know …

It’s complicated. Sorry. And I haven’t even gotten to the special tiles yet.

There are tiles that represent dragons, there are twelve of them, four red dragons, four green dragons, and four white dragons. Additionally there are sixteen wind tiles, four each of north, south, east, and west. Also, there are four season tiles and four flower tiles.

How does this all work?

The season and flower tiles mean little to the playing of the game and only count at the end, and only if you’re the winner of the hand.

The winds can only be collected in groups of the same direction. The dragons too can only be collected as one type in a group. To be more specific, you can have three green dragons and three red dragons, that’s two groups, but you can’t have three green ones, two red ones and a white one, that’s just one group and a mess.

So …

The sticks and stones and characters are more versatile if you’re trying to win a hand.

They can be used in more than one way, as runs or groups of the same, but the winds can get you more points if you collect your own wind or the wind of the round.

The dragons?

The dragons can also get you more points, but mostly they just look cool.

Okay, there’s also the thing where if you go for them they are sometimes easier to collect because they are … hard to collect. Does that make sense?


Okay, the deal is you can pick up a discarded tile if you have two to go with it already. And if you have two matching dragon tiles then there are only two more out there, so the odds are that someone who has just one will throw it if they get a better tile.

See, dragons are complicated. They aren’t easy to figure out, they are hard to collect, but also easy to collect if circumstances are just right.

And we, the people with ADHD, we’re like that too. We are often difficult to understand, difficult to work with, but sometimes circumstances make it so that we are the easiest and most useful tiles on the table to work with.

We are the dragons of the world.

Mah Jongg!

We Are The Dragons

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2020). We Are The Dragons. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Feb 2020
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