How to Play Mahjong Solitaire
Mahjong Solitaire is a one-player version of the classic four-player Mahjong. It is a matching game using mahjong tiles, where the objective is to clear the board by matching two identical tiles to remove them from play. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. The tiles are stacked so, you can only match tiles that are open on the left or the right, working outward to inward.
Clear the board by matching like tiles. The tiles must be exposed on either their left or right sides to be in play.
From layouts to suits, the next sections explain how Mahjong gets set up and how suits impact play.
You can change the layout to Mahjong Solitaire, with each setup offering its own unique challenges. You can choose from a turtle, fish, bird, gate, or triangle and see which layout you enjoy playing best.
Just like Solitaire, Mahjong tiles have suits: stone (circles), character, bamboo, honor, and bonus tiles. You’ll find four sets of nine different tiles for stone, character, and bamboo suits.
For the honor suit, you’ll find four sets of three different tiles for dragons and four sets of four different tiles for winds. All stone, character, bamboo, and honor tiles must be matched identically.
For the bonus tiles, there are no identical matches. There are four different seasons and four different flowers. You can match any seasons or any flowers together.
If you need help remembering which is which, you can turn on the Tile Labels under Settings.
Mahjong Solitaire Rules
Keep these Mahjong Solitaire rules in mind while playing:
- You can only match open tiles. Tiles can’t be matched unless either the left or right side of the tile is open. Only one side needs to be open without touching another tile. If you click outside of the game setup or click a tile that can’t be matched, the unavailable tiles will turn gray, making the available tiles easier to spot.
- Pair up identical tiles of the same suit. Tiles have suits, and you can match identical tiles of the same suit to clear them from the board.
- Pair up any seasons and flowers. The suits for seasons and flowers don’t have identical tiles, so you can pair any seasons and any flowers to make a match. So any flower tiles can be paired with other flower tiles, and any season tiles can be paired with other season tiles.
- Reshuffle the tiles when no moves are available. You can reshuffle the tiles at any time during the game, but typically it is best to wait until you’ve run out of moves.
Strategies to Win Mahjong Solitaire
Matching may sound easy, but having some tiles unavailable increases the difficulty of making a match. Calculating your moves with the following Mahjong strategies may increase your chances of winning:
- Assess the placement of the tiles before making a match. When you first start the game, take time to evaluate the placement of the tiles. Look for crucial matches that open up tiles, especially ones that are important for future matches.
- Plan ahead to unlock important tiles. It may be tempting to immediately make matches when you see them, but plan out matches ahead of time. If you plan ahead before making any match, you have a better chance of assessing which moves will help you progress the most.
- Work on high piles and horizontal rows. Prioritize tiles that are stacked high or horizontally. Making matches with these tiles allows you to work inward, freeing more tiles to match downward, revealing hidden tiles.
- Spot matching tiles that are overlapping. You can see if two identical tiles are overlapping in some layouts. So be sure to find a match for the available tile so you’re not stuck with one tile overlapping its only match.
- Use the buttons to help your gameplay. You can use the “reshuffle” button to reshuffle tiles when you get stuck, and you can use the “undo” button to reverse a move or several moves until you get back to a certain point. The “redo” allows you to redo a move. If you’re stuck and can’t find a match, use the “hint” button to have a match highlighted for you.
How difficult is Mahjong?
Mahjong is considered medium to hard in difficulty. The Turtle layout has a win rate of 14.17%, while the other layouts are below 10%.
Other Games You’ll Enjoy
If you like Mahjong Solitaire, you can find other matching or pairing Solitaire games to play.
- Golf Solitaire: Remove cards from the tableau by choosing a card valued either one rank above or below the last card removed.
- TriPeaks Solitaire: Similar to Golf, but the cards are laid out in pyramids instead of columns.
- Pyramid Solitaire: Pair cards from a pyramid layout that add to 13 to remove them from the tableau.
- Spider Solitaire:Build foundation sequences in the tableau with 2 decks of cards.
- FreeCell: Use 4 open cells to place any playable card and help you solve the game.
- Canfield Solitaire: This variation is similar to Klondike Solitaire, but each foundation pile starts with a unique card.