(16 May, 2015) Fixed some typos.
(13 February, 2015) Rain cards always count as junk in sixteen junk cards.
(10 February, 2015) Added rules for exchanging hand with the eldest, cancellation of kept combinations, and further clarification of special combinations.
(9 February, 2015) Added descriptions on common arrangements for double/quad carry over, corrected rules on special combinations, added optional rules for extended hands, and optional use of hand counter.
One pack of 48 flower cards (or two of them used alternately between hands), poker chips or go stones, and loan tokens. Scores are kept in shillings and pence. There are twelve pence in a shilling -- that's why I used shilling as translation of kan --- there has never been duodecimal currency in Japan and this game is said to originate late 19th century in Yokohama, the place for foreign trade with Western powers. Go stones or poker chips are used for them: a white one is a shilling and a black one penny, and each player starts four shillings and twelve pennies. A player can receive additional chips in unit of five shillings, along with corresponding number of crown tokens to keep record of current debt.
Please see somewhere else or my article on mushi for description and classification of the cards.
Number of players
5 to 7, best for 6. 3 or 4 player games are possible, but not recommended.
Eldest hand is chosen by drawing. Who draws earliest month becomes first eldest and chooses his/her seat. Who has next earliest month sits at his/her right, and so on. Cards are redrawn in case of a tie. Winner of previous hand becomes the eldest in following deals.
Youngest player, who is at the left of the eldest, shuffles a pack of cards and give them to the eldest, who, in turn, lets the second hand, who is at his/her right, cuts them or acknowledge the shuffling. The eldest, then, deal 7 cards face down to each player and 6 face up to the table, in packets of four to players and three on the table, followed by three to players and the table. Remaining cards are placed face down near the table cards as a stock. When there are seven players, a blank card is added to the pack and 6 cards on the table are not dealt. Who has the blank card does not play in the deal and places the other six cards on the table. When there are four cards of same flower, cards are dealt again by the same eldest hand. If there are three cards of same flower on the table, they are grouped together. They can be captured all at once by the remaining card of the plant. Before players look at cards dealt, anyone can exchange his/her hand with that of the eldest. Furthermore, anyone who has not exchanged cands can do so with who has the hand originally dealt to the eldest.
Double and quad deals
If there is the crane, the curtain, or the moon on the table, everything is doubled in that hand. If there are more than one of these cards, the scores of the next hand are doubled too.
If there is the rain man or the phoenix on the table, everything is quadrupled in that hand. If there are both of them, the scores of the next hand are quadrupled too.
A prior agreement has to be made with regard to what happens if there are three double cards on the table, if there are both double and quad cards, or if there are double card(s) on the table in a carried-over double or quad deal. Common arrangements include:
- (as few as possible) to treat three double cards just like two of them and to ignore double and quad cards on the table in carried-over double/quad hands, or
- (as many as possible) to play as many double and quad hands as number of double and quad cards dealt on the table, with quad hands taking precedence over double ones.
Each player, after looking at his/her hand, starting from the eldest and counter-clockwise, says if he/she plays the hand or passes. A passing player deposits passing fee to the common pool, that is 1/- (one shilling) for the first player to pass, 1/6 (one and six) for the second, and 2/- for the third. It is taken by winner of the hand. Passing players put his/her cards on the stock. Some play that each passing player shuffle the stack after placing their hand on it, and some do not. Passing players do nothing until the next deal. If the eldest hand passes, a player at his/her right becomes the eldest. Some do not allow players to pass if it would make number of players less than three, and some allow one and two player games where passing fee is divided equally between joining players.
Blind play by the eldest
The eldest hand can say play without looking at his/her hand if kind of double is not known, i.e. when there are no carried over double/quad and before dealing cards.
When three players says play, remaining players are forced to pass. Forced out players do not pay passing fee. A forced out player can receive these points from each of playing players:
- a half of points for melds,
- a half of points for scoring combination in hand,
- threepence for each card that is part of red ribbons, blue ribbons, four bright cards or five bright cards, unless it is part of a meld or a combo in hand.
Starting from the eldest, each player shows any melds he/she has and wishes to score and receive their points from each of the other two players. Shown cards are left face up on the table. A rain card counts as a junk card for the purpose of melds, and one card can be used in more than one melds. Some allow a rain card to be either a junk card or a regular rain card, but not both at the same time, for the purpose of melding.
- red, 2/-. two ribbon and five junk cards. The junk cards must be shown. Some score it 3/-.
- lone ribbon, 3/-. a ribbon and six junk cards. The junk cards must be shown.
- lone ten, 3/-. an animal and six junk cards. The junk cards must be shown.
- lone bright, 4/-. a bright and six junk cards. The junk cards must be shown.
- all junk, 4/-. seven junk cards. The junk cards must be shown.
- three cards, 2/-. three cards of same flower. The three cards must be shown.
- greater three cards, 3/-. three cards of same flower, where the plant is wisteria, iris, clover or paulownia. paulownia must not be the phoenix, in which case it becomes simple three cards. The three cards must be shown.
- three pairs, 4/-. Six cards forming the pairs must be shown.
- four cards, 6/-. Four cards of same flower. The four cards must be shown.
- three cards and two pairs, 7/-. All cards must be shown.
- one-two-four, 8/-. Four cards and a pair. All cards must be shown.
- four-three, 20/-. Four cards and three cards. All cards must be shown.
Many/some recognise these points for two sets of three cards:
- double three cards, 6/-. Two sets of three cards.
- three cards and greater three cards, 7/-.
- double greater three cards, 8/-. Two sets of greater three cards.
Play of cards
The eldest hand plays first and turn moves counter-clockwise. A player plays a card from his/her hand by placing it face up on the table. It is placed on a card with same flower to capture them together if there is one, or left alone to become a new table card otherwise. Then he/she flips the top card of the stock and play it just like a card from hand. Captured cards are placed face up in front of the player, arranged into bright, animal, ribbon and junk for everyone to see clearly.
Scoring combinations, going out and keeping
When and only when a player has captured all cards of a scoring combination, he/she can either go out to end the hand or keep playing. Regardless of going out or continuing, he/she receives points of the combination he/she has just made from each of the other two players. A keeping player has to return a half of the points received for kept combination(s) when he/she fails to go out by making another, and has to pay for the other player as well as him/herself when an opponent goes out by completing another combination. Some do not allow keeping when a player has made five bright cards or seven ribbons. Some do not allow keeping four bright cards for the purpose of aiming for five bright cards. Some allow kept combinations to be cancelled at end of anyone's turn by returning a half of points received for them. A player no longer has to pay alone for the other player after he/she cancels keeping. The scoring combinations are:
- red ribbons, 7/-. Three red ribbon cards with letters, of pine, plum and cherry.
- blue ribbons, 7/-. Three blue ribbon cards of peony, chrysanthemum and maple.
- seven ribbons, 10/-. Seven ribbon cards. The ribbon of rain does not count. Some scores one shilling for each additional ribbon.
- four bright cards, 10/-. The crane, the curtain, the moon and the phoenix.
- five bright cards, 12/-. four bright cards and the rain man.
Scored immediately when they happen.
- 1/- from each of the other two players, when one captures all cards of own melded three cards (normal and greater).
- 1/- from everyone but one who draws blank card, when the blind eldest takes more than 88 points by captured cards.
- 1/- from each of the other two players, when a player who melded red, lone ribbon, lone animal or all junk takes more than 88 points by captured cards.
When no one goes out by the end of a hand, each player counts total points in captured cards, 20 points for each bright card, 10 for each animal, 5 or each ribbon, and 1 for each junk cards, and compare the result with 88 points. Points below and above 88 are paid and received respectively, one penny for each point.
If any of these occurs when a hand ends, it is regarded as a scoring combination.
- sixteen junk cards, 12/-, two shillings for each additional junk card up until 20 shillings. It counts not only when all cards are played but also when any player goes out. Rain cards count as junk. Some do not set upper limit at 20 schillings. Some allow going out by this with further variations of allowing or disallowing keeping it to aim at seventeen or more.
- dead heat, 10/-. When no one goes out and every player takes 88 points. The eldest player wins and received 10/- from each of the other two players.
- double 80, 10/-. When no one goes out and there are more than or equal to 168 points in one's capture. one shilling for each additional card point.
These cancel any melds, normal scoring combinations including player's own and event points. Any payments made for them have to be paid back. Some play that they do not cancel the event points for blind play.
When a player has captured all but one card to complete a combination, another player is deemed responsible if he/she discards a card to complete it, be it the missing card or another card of the same flower, provided that he/she has other choice(s). A player is not responsible when he/she cannot do anything else, for example, when there is only one card left in his/her hand, or when all cards in his/her hand can complete waiting combinations and playing a card that could cost him/her less. Responsible player pays for the other player as well as his/herself. Some do not apply these rules for five bright cards and/or seven ribbons.
Similarly, a player discarding the remaining card of a three card meld is responsible for capture of the meld and has to pay for its event score all by him/herself.
After sixth hand is played, each player receives a crown debt token. This amount, number of players times five shillings, is given to winner of twelve hands as winner bonus.
A game is twelve hands. After twelfth hand is played, each player rounds his/her score to a nearest shilling (1 to 5 pence are rounded down and 6 to 11 pence are rounded up) and subtracts 10 shillings from the result. Who has highest score is winner of the game and receives the winner bonus. Some plays additional hands so long as there remain carried-over double or quad hands.
A board with twelve holes can optionally be used to record number of hands played. Winner of each hand places a penny in a hole and last place player receives the total of a shilling after the end of the game.