Mahjong is a matching game based on the ancient Oriental tile game. The single player game uses symbols representative of the original game from the 19th century. The game on this website, like the traditional game, consists of 144 tiles.
Numerical tiles represent the majority of tiles in the set. There are three suits of these with a total of four each of each number. The numbers range from one to nine in each suit so there are 36 tiles per suit for a total of 108 number tiles. The one and nine are called "Terminals" and two through eight are called "Simples."
The suits are representative of bamboo, circles, and characters (or thousands), which are also referred to as sticks, dots, and actors. Each number tile has the number in the upper right corner and corresponding number of units on the tile face.
The 4 wind directions are represented by four of each, making a total of 16 tiles. There are three dragon tiles that are called red, blue, and white. Each of the dragons has four tiles for a total of 12. Flower tiles represent bamboo, chrysanthemum, orchid, and plum, and these only have one tile each for a total of 4.
The last tiles are the seasons of autumn, winter, spring, and summer with one each. This comprises the total of 144 tiles.
The Mahjong boards are represented in 5 different styles so you can choose a different layout for a game. The board styles are Basic, Chinese Fan, Diamond Mine, Infinity, and Pyramid. Each new game arranges the tiles in a different layout on the board. The object of the game is to match like tiles and completely clear the board.
Tiles that are light or illuminated are the only tiles that can be selected for a match. Tiles that are dark or shaded cannot be used until an illuminated tile that touches them has been paired with another tile and in turn becomes eligible for play. There are various numbers of illuminated tiles showing at any time based on the board style selected and the tiles that are eliminated due to matching.
It is best to keep as many selectable tiles showing as possible so there are more options for matches. Exact matches are necessary to clear tiles with the exception of flower and season tiles.
Any season tile can be matched with any other season tile because there are only four. These are indicated by the 3-letter abbreviations in the upper right corner of the season tiles. If you can clear tiles until all the remaining tiles are illuminated, you have won the game because you just have to complete making your matches.
It's fun to play Mahjong and try to beat your best score, which is shown at the top of the game play area. You have the option to undo your last play by clicking the red button at the bottom of the tile layout on the right. You can also get a new tile set by clicking the "New Game" icon.
This all sounds very simple, but some boards may present you with a great challenge. Are you ready? Let's play Mahjong!