Mahjong Rules

The rules of the game and explanation provided on this page are for the solitaire version of Mahjong. These are the little free online Mahjong games you will find on our website in which the aim is to match all the pairs and clear the board. Our games are for one player, so you are not trying to beat anyone. But, there’s no reason why you couldn’t play with someone else to help you look for matching tiles. If you want instructions for playing the traditional Asian version of the game, it’s best to go to the website of the American Mah-Jongg Association where you will find all the official rules for the traditional version played in the U.S.

If you are already familiar with the basic rules of the game, you might still need an explanation of the precise rules for a specific game on our website, because each game is slightly different. For example, there is a version of Mahjong that you have to solve within a set time, and there are also versions with various extra options, like hints and extra levels. To help you, we have provided clear instructions for each game that explain all the features and options. The instructions appear below the game, it’s always worth glancing through them before you begin.

The basic rules of the game itself are simple: when you start you have a board with tiles arranged on it and to win the game, you have to remove them all by matching each tile with another identical tile (with the same symbol). Found a matching pair? Select them both and the game will automatically eliminate them. If you found two identical tiles, you cannot just match them with each other, there are some rules for this: it is only possible to remove a tile if it does not have another tile on top of it and is not enclosed between other tiles, the tile must be free on one side to be able to remove it.

Take a look at the example above, in the first set of tiles we connected 2 tiles with a green line, you’ll see that both of them are free on one side, so you can remove them. If you trace the red line on the second tile set, you will notice that only one of the matching tiles is free on one side. The other tile does not have a tile on top of it, but is enclosed so cannot be eliminated from the game. In the third example you see a matching pair but they are on top of each other so it is not possible to remove them.

As the game progresses, it gets much more easier as the number of tiles on the board gradually reduces and you can see more clearly what’s left. You may get to a point in the game where you have found all possible combinations of pairs and you cannot match any more tiles. In most games, you will then get a message to say there are no more matching tiles available and the board will automatically be reset, or there is a button in the game you can press to manually shuffle the tiles. Some of the games also have a hint button you can press to get a suggestion to help you if you are stuck.

We hope this explanation was helpful and you enjoy playing Mahjong. If you have any questions about one of the games or the instructions in general, please contact us. We are always happy to help with your queries or any other issues.

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