Mahjong Classic

Play the famous Mahjong game online and for free! For instructions and some hints, please check out the guide below.

The classic Mahjong version consists of a 144-tile pyramid with 5 layers. One notable feature is the game’s ability to record the player’s best time, allowing them to monitor their progress.

Tracing the Origins of Mahjong Through Time

Mahjong, a captivating game of strategy and skill, has a rich history that spans centuries. Originating in China, Mahjong has evolved into a globally cherished pastime, captivating players with its intricate tiles and complex gameplay. As we embark on a journey through the history of Mahjong, we’ll unravel the origins of this ancient game and explore the nuances that make it a beloved cultural treasure. Following the historical exploration, we’ll delve into a comprehensive explanation of how Mahjong works, breaking down its rules and unique elements. Finally, we’ll share valuable tips and tricks to guide players on the path to mastering this timeless game.

Mahjong’s Roots: An Ancient Tapestry Unveiled

Origins in China:

  • Mahjong’s story begins in 19th-century China during the Qing Dynasty. The exact origins are shrouded in the mists of time, but it is believed that the game emerged from traditional Chinese card games and gained popularity in the bustling city of Shanghai.

Evolution and Regional Variations:

  • As Mahjong spread across China, regional variations emerged, each contributing unique elements to the game. The game’s popularity transcended social classes, becoming a favorite pastime among both the elite and the common people.

International Expansion:

  • Mahjong’s journey beyond China’s borders began in the early 20th century. Introduced to the Western world through cultural exchanges and global trade, Mahjong captured the imagination of players worldwide. The game’s exotic allure and strategic depth contributed to its rapid internationalization.

How Mahjong Works: A Symphony of Tiles and Strategy

The Mahjong Set:

  • Mahjong is played with a set of 144 intricately designed tiles. The set comprises various suits, honor tiles, and special tiles, each contributing to the complexity and depth of the game.

The Four Players:

  • Mahjong is typically played by four players, each sitting at a square table. The game involves a series of rounds, with players taking turns in a counterclockwise direction.


  • The primary objective of Mahjong is to build a complete set of tiles known as a “Mahjong,” typically consisting of four sets of three tiles and a pair. This complete set must conform to specific patterns, which vary across different versions and regional variations.

Drawing and Discarding Tiles:

  • The game begins with the distribution of tiles to each player. Players take turns drawing a tile from the wall of face-down tiles, known as the “wall,” and then discarding a tile to the center. The discard pile, known as the “kong box,” gradually grows throughout the game.

Forming Sets:

  • Players strive to form sets of tiles, which can be either a “Pung” (three identical tiles), a “Chow” (a sequence of three tiles in the same suit), or a “Kong” (four identical tiles). In addition to these basic sets, there are special sets like “Eyes” (pairs) and “Honors” (sets of honor tiles).

The Special Honor Tiles:

  • Mahjong includes honor tiles, which are unique and carry special significance. These tiles include the Winds (East, South, West, North) and the Dragons (Red, Green, White), each contributing to scoring and strategy.

Scoring and Winning:

  • Mahjong is a game of points, and scoring is a crucial aspect of gameplay. Points are earned through specific combinations and patterns formed during play. The player who completes a Mahjong declares victory and scores points based on the composition of their winning hand.

The Wall and Dead Wall:

  • The wall, from which players draw tiles, is an essential part of the game. As tiles are drawn, the wall diminishes, and a portion becomes the “dead wall.” The dead wall is set aside and only drawn from when players declare a Kong.

Dealing with Bonus Tiles:

  • Some versions of Mahjong include bonus tiles known as “Flowers” and “Seasons.” These tiles provide additional opportunities for scoring and strategic play.

Tips and Tricks for Mastering Mahjong: Navigating the Tiles with Skill

Mahjong is a game of strategy, skill, and careful observation. To become a master of Mahjong, players must not only understand the rules but also develop a keen sense of the tiles and the dynamics of the game. Here are some tips and tricks to guide you on your journey to Mahjong mastery:

1. Understand the Scoring System:

  • Familiarize yourself with the scoring system of the Mahjong variation you’re playing. Understanding how points are earned and the value of different combinations is essential for strategic decision-making.

2. Plan Your Hand:

  • Mahjong is a game of careful planning. As you draw and discard tiles, have a clear idea of the combinations you are working towards. Adapt your strategy based on the tiles you receive and the tiles discarded by other players.

3. Observe Your Opponents:

  • Pay close attention to the tiles your opponents draw and discard. This information can be invaluable in deducing their strategies, identifying the tiles they need, and adjusting your own gameplay accordingly.

4. Be Mindful of the Wall:

  • The wall is a finite resource in Mahjong. Keep track of the tiles that have been drawn and discarded, especially if you’re waiting for a specific tile to complete a set. Be strategic in your timing when drawing from the wall.

5. Prioritize Discarding Safely:

  • Avoid discarding tiles that could potentially benefit your opponents unless necessary. It’s crucial to strike a balance between progressing your own hand and not inadvertently assisting others.

6. Consider the Dead Wall:

  • If you draw a tile from the dead wall, be cautious about how this information is perceived by other players. Drawing from the dead wall signals that you are completing a Kong, which can influence their strategies.

7. Adapt to the Winds:

  • The Wind tiles carry special significance in Mahjong. Pay attention to the prevailing Wind, as it can impact the scoring. Adapt your strategy to align with the current Wind, and be mindful of the changing dynamics of the game.

8. Strategic Use of Bonus Tiles:

  • If your Mahjong variation includes bonus tiles like Flowers and Seasons, use them strategically. These tiles can provide opportunities for bonus points and enhance the overall complexity of your hand.

9. Balance Offensive and Defensive Play:

  • Mahjong involves a delicate balance between offensive and defensive play. While you work to complete your own hand, be aware of the tiles others are discarding and adjust your strategy to impede their progress.

10. Practice Regularly:

  • Mahjong is a game that rewards experience. Regular practice will deepen your understanding of tile dynamics, help you recognize patterns more efficiently, and enhance your overall gameplay.

Mastering the Art of Mahjong

Mahjong, with its ancient origins and intricate gameplay, stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of traditional games. As players arrange tiles, form strategic sets, and navigate the complexities of scoring, Mahjong becomes not just a game but an art form—one that requires skill, strategy, and a deep understanding of the tiles