What is Mahjong?

Mah-Jong or Mahjong, is a charming Chinese game played with engraved tiles. In all, there are 136 tiles, including 36 characters, 36 bamboos, and 36 circles, which are in turn divided into four sets of numbers 1-9 in each suit. There are also 16 Wind tiles and 12 Dragon tiles. (Many sets also include 8 bonus tiles: 4 flowers and 4 seasons, but these are not needed in the basic game.) Depending upon the game, the number of tiles may vary. Four players collect tiles with similar pictures and numbers. At the end of the game, the player who has collected the maximum number of sets is the winner. Traditionally, the tiles have been made from ivory or bone dove-tailed into bamboo.  But a variety of other materials has also been used including wood, Bakelite, resin and modern plastic.

To play Mahjong, a player matches the picture of a tile with another of the same kind and removes it. One main rule of Mahjong is that the tile should not be “bound,” since it cannot be removed. A bound tile is one that has tiles on all four sides, on three sides, on two opposite sides, or above it, if it is placed in a tower setup. “Free” tiles can be removed. A free tile is one which has a tile on one side, is placed in a corner of a setup, or is on top of a tower, with at least two adjoining sides free. Best results are obtained when no tiles remain on the table.

Similar to the Chinese Mahjong game, a cyber game has been created, which can be played by a single player, just like solitaire. This game is free and the objective of the player is to eliminate all pieces from the board. This is not only a fun online game to play. but tt is easy to learn and play as well. There are several levels, which the player can progress to and the complexity of the game increases at higher levels.

There are several sites which offer Free Mahjong with a number of variations, and they are easily accessible on the internet. There is even a three-dimensional version of the game to choose from. One can opt to play the virtual game with online players. The variations come with their own set of instructions. However, the basic rule of Mahjong, that is, matching the tiles, remains the same.

A player can download Mahjong from the Internet for free. A search for downloadable Mahjong games will promptly show several results to choose from. Mahjong is an engrossing game that you have to try your hand at.