For the Mah Jong Solitaire fanatic, websites abound with games offering variety and challenge. Traditional Mah Jong is an ancient Chinese game played by four people. A game set contains 136 to 152 or more tiles, originally made of bamboo or bone. Mah Jong Solitaire may be played by an individual or two people taking turns and has simpler rules, involving matching tiles until the screen is cleared.
Some online Mah Jong Solitaire sites are basic with no ‘bells or whistles’. If you are interested in a bare bones game with no timer, try Mah Jong Solitaire on freegames.ws. The tile designs are traditional, Chinese ‘characters’ (script), ‘bamboo’ (looks like game pegs), and ‘dots’, with honor tiles that have geishas and flowers. There is only one layout design. In the lower right corner of the screen is a restart button, but no opportunities for undoing a previous move. A nice help to the player is the feature that makes a selected tile glow until either a match or mismatch is chosen. If you run out of moves, you will hear a boing sound and see a message. If you are successful at clearing the board, the background template animates. You hear the sound of the volcano erupting and the tsunamai-like wave crashing on the shore and see lava flow down the sides of the volcano.
Another basic online MahJong Solitaire game may be found on lechinois.com. This game is by Infospace and seems to me to be just the right thing for those few minutes of down time at the office. This game has a timer that begins at zero and tiles that are of the traditional Mah Jong design. There is a button for starting a new game and selected tiles are outlined with running black-and-white dashed lights around their perimeters. When I played this game and had no more moves that I could see, I did not get a ‘No More Moves’ message or sound.
Somewhat similar to the aforementioned Mah Jong Solitaire site is the one offered by by-art.com. The background picture is of the Great Wall of China and the tile layout is on top of that. In this game, there are no sounds. However, there is a place for you, should you bookmark this site, to keep track of how many games you have played and your best time. As you play, you can see how many free tiles there are in the current game. Included are buttons that give you a hint, allow you to undo a move, or start a new game. Because no sounds accompany your tile selections you must rely on sight. The tile you have clicked will turn black with the characters in colored relief.
At least three websites let the visitor play the gamehouse.com version of Mah Jong Solitaire called Mah Jong Medley. The differences among these sites appear to be, first, how many of Gamehouse’s layouts are available for free and how many additional layouts (Deluxe or Special version) may be purchased for downloading, and second, if the site offers some type of registration for frequent gamers who desire to record high scores and other gaming ‘triumphs’. Gamehouse.com’s Mah Jong Solitaire has several worthwhile features. On the left side of the screen, you will see, from the top down, your current score, bonus points, and how many tiles are yet to be cleared. Under those is a box which displays a picture of the tile directly under the cursor whether or not the tile has been clicked. You may not use the reshuffle button with the free game version. When you have made all of the moves that are possible, you will see a ‘No More Moves’ message. Two websites which offer gamehouse’s Mah Jong Medley are gamehouse.com (lets you play ten layouts) and gamesville.lycos.com (got to love a site that has as its motto “Wasting your time since 1996”!) If you use Internet Explorer 5.01 or higher and Windows 98 or newer, you can access Mah Jong Solitaire (Medley) on zone.msn.com. Zone.msn.com allows you to earn mastery and lifetime total badges to be collected in an online ‘badge album.’ To collect these badges you must set up a game account.
Greatday games.com offers basic Mahjongg Solitaire, Mom Jongg, Mahjongg Garden, Mahjongg Alchemy, and Mahjongg Alchemy Max. In addition, greatdaygames.com has constructed a three level game based on Everyone’s Hero, the animated baseball movie coming out in September 2006. There is no opportunity with the first five listed games to undo a move you have made. Each has a ten second warning sound.
Greatdaygames.com’s basic Mah Jongg Solitaire game gives you a five-minute time limit in which to make as many matches as you can. At the top you will find a button to resign the game. To the right side of the screen is a reshuffle button as well as one to turn the sound off. Your score is displayed in a box in the right center. The tiles are of a traditional Mah Jongg design. Beware using the reshuffle button with this and other Mah Jongg games on this site! A reshuffle does not reshuffle just the remaining tiles you had left, but all the rest also. The timer does not restart!
Mom Jongg is a five minute timed game. At the top of the screen are your buttons for disabling sound, submitting your score, changing options, and reading the rules. The score box is close by. At the bottom right corner is a button to deal a new tileset. At the bottom left is a box which will display the tile your cursor is over as well as showing the tile point value and what the tile is. My personal recommendation with Mom Jongg is to find that sound off button and click it. The sound that accompanies a successful match (like a tinny child’s piano) can become quickly annoying. The tile set design has flowers representing honor tiles as well as the traditional characters, bamboo, and dots. Dragons are red, lavender, and yellow roses, the winds are red, lavender, yellow, and blue tulips. Mah Jongg Garden has much the same layout as Mom Jongg, but has a tile set design that is more traditional with colored dragons and flowers. Mah Jongg:
Age of Alchemy and Age of Alchemy Max differ only in the amount of time (ten and fifteen minutes respectively) allotted to the gamer to match the tiles. The tile set design is radically different from the other Mah Jongg games on this site because it uses only ancient alchemy symbols. Your score and the timer is in the top center of the screen. On the top right corner are buttons to submit your score, see the menu, and deal a new tile set. The box in the lower left corner shows the tile your cursor is over, its point value, and what the symbol represents. The Alchemy tile set design is rather interesting. Here you find the symbols for metals (mercury, silver, gold, tin, etc.), for phases of the moon, positions of the sun during the day, for crystal, water, crucible, and spirit, as well as dragons of different colors. Some if not all of these Mah Jongg games are powered by Arkadium. If you register for greatdaygames.com, you get ‘treats’ for each score. These ‘treats’ are redeemable for chances at sweepstakes gift cards from well-recognized stores and companies. This is a site that records the gamer’s name and high score for the day and the week.
People who love flowers might enjoy playing 21st Century Mah Jong Solitaire or 21st Century Mah Jong Border on gotofreegames.com. The tile design is that of real photos of flowers like blackeyed Susans, daisies, roses, and lilies. The photos are a little dark and the layers of tiles seem a little more difficult to distinguish than traditional tile designs would be. When a tile is selected on this site, the border of the tile lights up with a green frame. Mah Jong Border is a challenging variation of Solitaire. The authors of these Mah Johng Soltaire games are Cristina Balescu and Mihail Emilian Vartolomei.
The Mah Jong Solitaire game on candystand.com is the site I frequent when I want to listen to soft Oriental-sounding music while playing. This game has four background themes (pagodas, planets, islands, playgrounds), ten tile layouts, and three tile sets from which to choose. Of the tile set designs, two are candy-themed and one is traditional. The sound effects (like swords being drawn, birds squawking) are unique. The music can be disabled. The timer starts at zero for this game, and the player’s game score, bonus points, penalty points, time, and best score are recorded.
SplashSpot.com has several Mah Jong Solitaire games, but only two can be played without paying to be a SplashSpot Gold member. The Mah Jong basic version has three levels through which you can advance. Of the Mah Jong Solitaire games I have played, this and the one at candystand.com have tile designs that seem easiest to find and match. The SplashSpot tiles are like symbols reminiscient of the 60’s and 70’s (white stars and moons, lavender hearts, footprints, smilies, pink flowers, etc.). Even with the basic version you may reshuffle the remaining tiles, pause, and ask for a hint. The timer goes backward from 10:00 and seems to run slower or faster depending on how long you take to find a match. Periodically while you are playing, the ‘Todays Top Ten’ board renews itself and shows what your Mah Jong Solitaire rank is in comparison to the leading gamers
Still another variation of Mah Jong Solitaire is on zone.msn.com. Mah Jong Quest is a timed game that tells a story through several levels of play. On completion of the first level, three dragons are released which burn up hero Kwazi’s fields and house. Subsequent levels allow you to repair the damage and then move on to help others who ask Kwazi for help. The goal on each of the levels is to match tiles until the Yin and Yang tiles are exposed and matched. To pressure the player, this feat must be accomplished before a fuse burns to its end. On some levels, the player will encounter things like brick walls that must be blasted away with firecracker tiles and magnet tiles that free up wanted matches. At the bottom of the screen are buttons for the next layout, restart, hint, undo, pause and quit. The upper left corner displays a window that tells the available matches and the score.
From games with no timer to ones that have several great features, from tile sets that have traditional to floral designs, with sound or without, the Mah Jong Solitaire enthusiast is sure to find a game site that he or she will return to time after time.