About Mahjong Friends Online

Mahjong Friends Online lets you play any style of Mahjong with your friends. Up to 4 people can play, using a voice chat app to talk to each other during the game. It's a fun way to play the game in real time when you can't be in the same room. We hope you agree.

The principle behind Mahjong Friends Online is simple: you control how to play. This game does not enforce the rules because there are so many variants of Mahjong that have different rules, different tiles, and different scoring. Instead Mahjong Friends Online provides a natural and flexible playing environment that runs on different types of devices. It's essentially an online table with tiles and dice that you can play with however you like. Automation is used only to make certain things less tedious - like building the wall and dealing. The players do the rest, just like in the real game.

Starting a Game

Here's how to get started with Mahjong Friends Online:

The Game Menu

New Wall is used to build a new wall at the start of each hand. The system shuffles the tiles before building the wall.

Deal Tiles deals out the tiles to the players.

Help displays the Help screen, which is also available through the question mark (?) button on the Start screen.

Settings displays the Settings screen, where you can change the game settings and user preferences. See Settings for the details.

Restore restores the last game that was played on that specific device.

Exit disconnects a player from the game and returns the player to the Start screen.

The Hand Menu

Sort puts the tiles in your hand in order by suit and number. Note that the order in which the suits are arranged varies to prevent other players from knowing how your tiles are organized.

Reveal shows the tiles in your hand to other players.

Flip Down lays all the tiles in your concealed hand face down.

Moving the Tiles

Mahjong Friends Online lets you move tiles in much the same way you would in a regular Mahjong game. It's easy! Hold your cursor or finger down to drag a tile between the wall, your hand, your melds area, or any of the discards areas. This method of moving something on the screen is called "drag and drop". You also drag and drop tiles to rearrange them in your hand or in your melds area. Feel free to move tiles in your hand to wherever it makes sense to you. If you don't like the way your hand is sorted, change it!

Obviously, this isn't a real set of tiles, so some things are different (mostly easier, we think). For example, if you want to deal out the tiles manually, you can - go right ahead - but you can also use the Deal Tiles button in The Game Menu to do it automatically.

Another advantage is that you can't take the wrong tile from the wall or knock the wall over reaching for something else. (Or is that just me?) Sometimes players may drop a tile in the wrong place - on the wall, in the discards area, or in their own hand. If this happens, the tile can simply be moved back to where it should be. If a tile is drawn by mistake, you can put a tile back into the front end or back end of the wall where it belongs.

To move a tile, hold your cursor down - or finger on a touch screen - to drag the tile and drop it where you want it.

When you draw a tile from the wall, it remains face down at first; as you draw it towards you, it increases in size and reveals its face to you. For the other players, it still appears face down. However, they will see it increasing in size as an indication that you can already see the tile's face.

Placing Tiles in Your Hand

Your hand is the row of tiles directly in front of you that only you can see.

Placing Tiles in the Melds Area

The melds area - the place where you put your bonus tiles and exposed sets - is between your row of concealed tiles and the wall, starting on the left and expanding out to the right. The melds areas are marked with the word Melds written on the surface of the table.

Placing Tiles in the Discards Area

The discards area is in the middle of the table, inside the wall just as it would be in a regular game. The discards areas are marked with the word Discards written on the surface of the table.

Opening and Setting Up the Wall

You can either determine where to break the wall in whatever way you normally do or let the system pick a random place to start dealing.

You can separate the dead wall (kong box) from the rest of the wall and/or place loose tiles on it, according to how it is done in your style of Mahjong.

To reveal a dora indicator, window joker or Baida tile:

To make it easier to click on the correct tile in the wall, you can use the Zooming In feature.

Flipping the Tiles

Clicking on a tile will flip it face down. Clicking on it again will turn it face up.

Using the Dice

Luck is just a roll of the dice, but the key thing to remember about the dice in Mahjong Friends Online is that their location tells the system who the dealer (East) is. Any player can move the dice around the board to any other player, but the dice must be to the left of the player who is the dealer when the tiles are dealt. Whoever has the dice will be dealt one more tile than the other players, as the dealer begins the game by discarding a tile.

Settings

On the Settings screen, you can change the game settings and user preferences.

Game settings affect all players. They are applied only when a new wall is built.

User preferences affect only you. They are applied immediately.

The Round Indicator

The round indicator is the circle in the centre of the table. It initially displays E for East. If your style of Mahjong has the notion of the prevailing wind that changes from round to round, you can use the round indicator to keep track of it.

The Wind Indicator

The wind indicator is the square in the centre of the table showing the wind designation for each seat around the Mahjong table. The winds are shown in characters around the sides of the indicator, and each side of the wind indicator uses a different colour. That colour is also used for the players' names, scores, pointers, and cursors to help players identify who is rolling the dice, moving a tile, or paying points.

The players' wind designations on the wind indicator and therefore their colour assignments are determined by the position of the dice, as the player who holds the dice is always East (see Using the Dice).

Players' Names and Seats

The edge of the table displays the players' names and scores. When you first log in, the players are positioned around the table in alphabetical order by name (unless you've restored a previous game).

If you want to change positions, you can decide which players are in which seats around the table however you like - rolling the dice, picking numbers, virtual arm wrestling or whatever - and then move the players' names into the correct positions. This is like getting up from your seat and going round the table.

Remember, in Mahjong Friends Online, the dealer (East) is the player holding the dice (see Using the Dice). The other players can arrange themselves around the table in any order.

Keeping Score

When a new game is started, the initial score (as defined in Settings) will be shown next to each player's name.

Mahjong Friends Online does not score your hand for you. Scoring works just like playing with real tiles, where players reveal their hands and count their own scores.

To make a payment to another player:

The way to reset the score before another game is to exchange points between players. This is the same way you would do it with real counting sticks.

Setting Aside Points for Bets or a Kitty

Some styles of Mahjong allow players to make bets on their hands (Riichi Mahjong, for example), and others have players contribute to a kitty or "pot" that can be claimed under certain conditions (like Jai Alai in Filipino Mahjong or the kitty in Western Mahjong). Mahjong Friends Online lets you do this.

To place points into a kitty or betting pot:

To pay out from the kitty or betting pot:

Using the Counter

Mahjong Friends Online provides you with a counter for keeping track of certain events. It can be used for different purposes depending on Mahjong style you are playing, such as honba counting in Riichi, winner markers for getting Jai Alai in Filipino Mahjong, or keeping track of the order of players going out in SBR.

Using the Pointer

Players cannot normally see each others' cursors during play except when they are picking up tiles or rolling the dice. However, sometimes you do want the other players to see what you are pointing at. This is particularly useful when you are teaching someone how to play the game. For this purpose, Mahjong Friends Online provides you with your own pointer, whose colour matches your seat designation.

Call Buttons

Call buttons are words displayed along the left and the right edges of the screen during the game. Clicking on a call button displays the corresponding word as a signal to all the players. The list of the call buttons is fully customisable in Settings. You can change the default words to whatever you like or delete them altogether.

This feature, along with Text Chat, allows you to play the game without using a voice application. It can also be used in conjunction with voice calls.

Text Chat

The text chat feature allows you to send messages to the other players. Together with Call Buttons, you can use text chat as an alternative means of communication if you decide not to connect on a voice application or if your voice app fails.

If your message ends with an equals sign (=), the system will try to interpret the message as a numeric equation (or as a Riichi scoring expression) and calculate it. The result of the calculation will be appended after the equals sign. The system accepts spaces between numbers and symbols or not, as you prefer.

If you enter equals sign (=) as a separate message, the system will collect numbers from all the rest of your messages and sum them up. The result of the calculation will be appended after the sign.

Zooming In

Sometimes you may want to take a closer look at some part of the board. This is especially useful if you are playing on a device with a small screen. This feature can be used for selecting the exact wall location that you want to click - either for opening the wall or for revealing the top tile.

Information Displays

The system displays auxiliary information in the corners of the screen.

Playing with Fewer Than 4 Players

Mahjong Friends Online allows you play a game with fewer than 4 players. You can even play alone for practice.

When the game is started with fewer than 4 players connected and the setting "Nobody" Players is off (see Settings), some of the seats remain empty. The wall is still built on all 4 sides of the table.

When the game is started with fewer than 4 players connected and the setting "Nobody" Players is on (see Settings), the empty seats are taken by imaginary players called "Nobody". The system deals out the tiles to all 4 seats, but the hand that Nobody is dealt is never played from or revealed.

You can play with Nobody by assuming that on Nobody's turn, Nobody always draws and immediately discards a tile from the wall.