First the four players take temporary seats arbitrarily. Any of them throws two dice and beginning with himself as one, counts counterclockwise to the number shown by the dice. The player so indicated becomes "temporary East", and the other three seats, in counterclockwise order, temporary South, West and North.
Next any player mixes four wind tiles, one of each wind, face down on the table and arranges them in a stack.
Temporary East then throws the two dice and counts counterclockwise, starting with himself. The player indicated by the dice then picks up the topmost wind tile. The other three players, in counterclockwise order, pick up the next tiles from the stack. Each player then assumes the seat indicated by the tile which he has drawn; the seat locations are determined in stage one (for details, see Fig. 1).
The player who is now temporary East then throws the two dice and counts counterclockwise, starting with himself. The player indicated by the dice will become the final East for the first deal of the game. The other players are assigned winds accordingly in counterclockwise order.
Note. There are significant variations related to preliminaries of the game. Some players simply stack up four wind tiles in random order, after which dice is thrown to determine who picks up the uppermost tile, each player in counterclockwise order picking up the next tile from the stack. The player who gets the East wind remains seated, the player who gets the South wind will sit on his right, etc.
The players retain their relative positions (though not their seat designations, as the winds rotate) until the game has been completed.