|N||New game – draws a new random deal.|
|R||Replay deal – restarts the current deal.|
|L||Select layout – allows to select layout, difficulty level, and deal number as well as to check statistics.|
|O||Options – select background, tile shape and color, glyph styles, as well as other options like for example playing sounds.|
|A||About Mahjong – opens this window.|
|Z||Undo – reverses the latest move.|
|Ctrl+Z||Undo – reverses the latest move.|
|H||Hint – highlight two tiles that can be removed in the next move, as long as such tiles exist.|
|S||Shuffle – randomizes locations of tiles that has not been yet removed from the board.|
|D||Rotate – changes the direction / isometric view of the board.|
|Esc||Close – closes currently opened dialog box or drop-down menu.|
|Up||Press to select the previous layout in the Select Layout dialog box.|
|Down||Press to select the subsequent layout in the Select Layout dialog box.|
Welcome to Mahjong Solitaire online. This is an ancient Chinese matching game, popular all over the world. We would like to thank you for choosing our game and playing with us. Have fun!
Traditionally, Mahjong (or alternatively Mah-jongg) is a multiplayer game popular in east Asia. It is commonly played by four players, has 144 game pieces (tiles) and is sometimes involved in gambling. However, for the purpose of making a video game, this multiplayer game has been modified into Mahjong solitaire, a game played by one player, which despite using exactly same tiles as the original version, has completely different rules. The objective of Mahjong solitaire is to remove all tiles from the board according to specific rules. This solitaire game became so popular that it is often associated with the name Mahjong instead of the original Chinese version, especially in the West. In the East, the game is known under different names, for example as Shanghai in Japan.
The objective of the game is to disassemble a pile of game pieces (tiles). There are 144 tiles which can be removed in pairs. In order to remove a pair of tiles a number of conditions have to be met. First of all, tiles need to belong to the same category. In most cases it means that the tiles need to have the same picture on it, but there are a few exceptions. Also, the tiles cannot be blocked from the sides and there cannot be other tiles on top of them. In other words, in order to remove a tile, you should be able to slide it left or right without disturbing other tiles. If a tile has an adjacent tile upwards or downwards of it, it still can be removed.
Each tile category has 4 tiles in it and so there are 36 categories in total. Categories can be further divided into themes. The first three themes have 9 categories each. Tiles in these categories can be identified by a number and a theme. First theme are chains or bamboos. The tiles in these categories can be identified by a number (from 2 to 9) of elongated shapes drawn on them. Instead of 1 chain (or bamboo), the illustration on the tile often depicts a bird. The second theme are barrels. These tiles can be identified by the number (from 1 to 9) of circle-shaped objects on them. The third theme are legions. These contain a Chinese number from 1 to 9 and a Chinese character for a legion (as in a very large number of something). The fourth theme are winds and contains four categories: East Wind, West Wind, North Wind, and South Wind, each identified by an appropriate Chinese character describing the geographic direction. The fifth theme are dragons. Again, we have three categories: Red Dragon, Green Dragon, and White Dragon. So far, all mentioned categories consist of four identical tiles. But here is where things start to change. The remaining two categories sometimes have different pictures on the tiles complicating the task of finding matching pairs. The remaining two categories, which can be bundled together under the theme of nature are seasons and plants. Seasons of course include Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Plants on the other hand include Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum, and Bamboo.
It is important to remove tiles in such an order so as not to get stuck. Whenever you have four tiles belonging to the same category available for removal, you can safely remove them in any order. However, if you have only two or three tiles currently available for removal, you need to be careful. If you remove the wrong two, you can get easily stack. An example is a situation when there are two tiles belonging to the same category stacked on top of each other. If you remove the other two tiles from this category, you will get stuck, because there is no way to remove the remaining two as the bottom one is blocked by the top one. In order to avoid this situation, try to pay attention where are all the tiles belonging to a certain category. Another piece of advice is to remove tiles that unlock other tiles first – this way you have more available options and you reduce your chances of getting stuck.
Fortunately, the game has a lot of features that help you, even if you make a mistake. First of all, there is an option which you can use to undo your last move if you make a mistake. There is also a hint which indicates the pairs of tiles available for removal. The number of moves, that is the pairs available for removal is indicated in the status bar at the top of the screen. When this number drops down to zero it means that either you won the game by removing all tiles or that you lost and there are no more pairs available for removal. In this latter case you can shuffle the board and rearrange the tiles randomly. Finally, there is an option to rotate the board. Now you see the tiles from a different angle. This does not affect the gameplay, only the visual aspect of the game.
The game also has a lot of options. Advanced players can disable above mentioned undo, hint, and shuffle features. The number of moves available and by default shown in the status bar at the top of the screen can be hidden. The same can be done to adjacent tile names. Also, be default, the hovering mouse over a tile which is not blocked highlights this tile. This can be turned off if the player wishes so. There is also an option to turn the sound off and on.
There are multiple options pertaining the game visual settings. First, the player has a choice of four backgrounds. These include blue, green, and purple carpet-like backgrounds and a solid light gray one. The tiles come in five varieties: Beige, Cedar, Gold, Pale, and White. Out of these five, the first four allow for various tail-side colors, namely blue, green, and red. White tiles are entirely white and their tail-sides cannot be adjusted. Finally, player can select one of the four set of pictures (glyphs) to be displayed on top of the tiles. The default glyphs have highest the contrast. Glyphs made by FluffyStuff are a little bit toned. For somebody interested in pale colors, there is the Gentle glyph set. Contours glyphs are plain black and white.
The traditional tile layout, sometimes also called “The Turtle” is just a one of the layouts available. This online Mahjong Solitaire has over sixty different layouts. Each layout is available in different difficulties. The easier it is to get stuck the more difficult the game is. There are 11 basic difficulty levels. First, there is a traditional difficulty. Upon choosing it, player faces a pile of tiles in which tiles are fully random. Depending on the layout, this can be very easy or very hard to solve. The absolute difficulty of the traditional mode is indicated by the number from 1 to 10 in the “Select layout“ window. An important thig to note is that with traditional difficulty games are sometimes unsolvable, that is for some random arrangement of tiles you will get stack no matter what you do. Alternatively, you can choose one of the 10 solvable difficulty levels. In these difficulty levels, arrangements of tiles are proved to be solvable, that is there exist some combination of moves which lead to the winning of the game. If you choose difficulty 1, you are least likely to get stuck. If you choose difficulty 10, it will be almost impossible not to get stuck. Because some layouts are inherently easier to solve, it is impossible to find difficult arrangements of tiles in them. Similarly, some layouts are inherently hard and so it is not possible to find easy arrangements of tiles for them. In such cases, certain difficulty levels are disabled.
You can always go back to a difficult tile arrangement that you failed to solve previously. All you need is to remember its deal number. For a given layout and difficulty, deal number tells you how tiles are arranged on the board.
There is no scoring system in this online Mahjong game. However, the game keeps track of how many games have you played, how many times have you won, and how much time did you spend playing. These statistics are kept at a difficulty, layout, and global levels. Moreover, the game also keeps track of how many layouts and what difficulties have you beaten and displays you the overall progress. This way you will know once you have beaten all layouts and all difficulties. We sincerely wish you good luck accomplishing this.
In the following example we are going to solve the traditional Turtle layout. The descriptions include a few basic strategies which should help you get started with the game. Note that this is not an example of optimal game.
Our priority is to make as many tiles available for removal as possible. Especially the tile at the top of the pile is important because it locks four tiles beneath them. The right-most and the left-most tiles are also important. In this deal we are lucky because we can remove two of those in the first step. There are 4 chains at the top of the pile and on the right, both marked with a red circle. Let’s click on them to remove them.
Now, we can move to the other priority – the right-most tile. This is the East Wind tile. We can easily see another East Wind close by. Let’s remove them both.
Another priority is to identify longest rows of tiles and make them shorter. We want the rows to be as short as possible so that the fewest tiles are trapped in them. This is why we can focus now on the top-most row and remove the 2 barrels from it by matching it with another 2 barrels. Both of them are marked with red circles.
Currently, the best move would be to remove the 3 barrels which is the right-most tile of the pile. However, there are no tiles available which we can use to remove it with. And so, we casually continue to disassemble the pile, hoping that the 3 barrels will eventually emerge. This time we remove 6 barrels, marked with red circles.
As previously, in an effort to shorten the longest rows, let’s remove the 5 barrels from the last. We choose the upper 5 barrels to match it with, because it makes adjacent 6 legions available, while the lower 5 barrels would make nothing new available.
Here we remove the 8 barrels and make the Red Dragon and the Green Dragon available. Why? Our objective is to remove the right-most 3 barrels. In order to do it, we will need to make another 3 barrels available.
Let’s remove the 7 barrels to make another Red Dragon and the North Wind available.
Now that we have two Red Dragons available, let’s remove them so that we can finally get rid of the right-most 3 barrels.
Yes! We can now remove the right-most 3 barrels. Our objective has been completed.
Let’s remove the 1 barrel from the top-most row. We don’t want our longest rows to be too long.
Now, let’s remove 4 barrels from the top of the pile. We don’t want our pile to be too tall.
It is time to remove 5 chains. Why? No particular reason. There are so many moves at this point, that we just pick the first one that comes to mind. Note however, that removal of those tiles makes two other tiles available – two North Winds.
Continuing to casually dismantle the pile: remove the 9 legions.
Remove the 7 legions.
Remove the 8 chains.
Remove the 6 legions.
Remove the 8 legions.
Remove the 6 barrels. This is a good move because it not only shortens a very long row but also removes a tile from an upper layer of the pile.
Now we can remove the 2 chains. Removing upper layers of the pile is important because a common way to get stuck is to have the same tiles stacked on top of each other. If highest layers have been removed, this is impossible. However, we cannot harry too much with the removal of higher layers, because having higher layers provides is with more tiles available and a higher choice when it comes to their removal. The speed with which we remove the upper layers must thus be quick but not too quick.
Okay, let’s now process three moves at a time. We first remove the Winter and the Spring as the first pair. Then, we remove the Orchid and the Bamboo as the second pair. Finally, we remove the 2 legions.
Notice that all four 1 legion tiles are available. Whenever there are four tiles available, we can remove them immediately without thinking because there is no way we can get stuck by removing them. Getting stuck can result only from removing tiles in the wrong order. And when all four are available simultaneously, there is no way we can get the order wrong.
Same here. All four North Wind tiles are now available. We can remove all of them safely.
And again. Four Green Dragons available. Let’s remove them.
Now the top-most tile is the 9 chains tile. Let’s remove it. Let’s also remove the White Dragon.
Let’s get rid of the two top-most tiles: the West Wind and the 5 legions. We can also remove the South Wind.
We continue to employ or previous strategies by removing the 3 chains to reduce a length row, and by removing the 5 chains and 1 chain to get rid of the second layer.
It is wise to remove the 4 legions now. Notice that there are two of them nest to each other. If we remove the other two together, we may get stuck as the two next to each other have a potential to block our moves. Therefore, we remove on of them with another 4 legions above. We also remove the 2 legions and the 6 chains.
Now, let’s remove the 3 barrels to as they are both in quite long rows. Also, let’s remove the Plum and the Chrysanthemum.
This time we are making four moves at a time. First, we remove the 7 barrels shortening the longest row. Then, we remove the 7 legions and the 9 chains, also shortening long rows as well as reducing the number of tiles in the second level. Finally, we remove the West Wind.
Let’s remove the 4 barrels, the 9 barrels and the 2 chains.
At this stage we are getting optimistic that winning is within our reach. There are not many tiles left on the board. Let’s remove the 5 barrels, the 4 legions, and the 3 legions.
And we continue to shorten rows and remove the second layer. Now let’s go with the 7 chains, the 4 chains, the 6 chains, and the South Wind.
Very few tiles remain left on the board and we still have so many moves. The success is getting closer and closer. Let’s remove the 1 barrel, the 2 barrels, the 8 legions, and the East Wind.
Shortening the longest rows and removal of the second layer: let’s get the 8 barrels, the 3 chains, the 1 barrel, and the 8 chains.
We can finally get rid of the second layer once and for all. Let’s remove the White Dragon. Let’s also remove the 9 legions, the 9 barrels and the 7 chains.
There are now so few tiles left on the board that we are almost certain to win. Remove the Red Dragon, the 3 legions and the 6 legions.
And now we know that we have won. The last to pairs to be removed are the 5 legions and the Summer and the Fall. Congratulations!
Mahjong originated in China in eighteenth and nineteenth century as a mostly four-player gambling game (like poker). Initially, instead of tiles coins were used to play it. The pictures on the modern sets resembling circles and called barrels were meant to depict coins in the old days. The chains were meant to depict multiple coins on a string. Finally, legions (or myriads) were referring to a great number of coins. However, this original meaning has been lost in time. The game was banned in China during the Cultural Revolution and was otherwise generally discouraged due to a ban on gambling. Currently, it is one of the favorite pastimes in China.
The original Mahjong was discovered by westerners in the final years of the nineteenth century. It was imported to the USA in 1920 and it immediately became quite popular under the name Mah-Jongg. Currently tournaments are being hosted across the USA. The game is also a very popular table game in Japan.
However, all this history pertains to the original version of Mahjong. Mahjong solitaire was created in 1981 as a video game. The reason it was called Mahjong is that it uses the same tiles as the original Chinese game. However, the rules are completely different. Most importantly the original Mahjong is never played by one player and Mahjong solitaire always is. Also, since its inception, Mahjong solitaire was mostly played on computers while the original game was played using real tiles and a table.
The popularity of Mahjong solitaire is mostly due to the game called Shanghai released by Activision in 1986. The game was also included in many Microsoft Windows releases, most notably as Mahjong Titans with Windows 7 and Shanghai Solitaire with Windows Vista. Currently, the game remains very popular.