Hello. My name is Jan and I am a mahjongg addict. The solitaire kind you play online, anyway.
I had no idea what the hell mahjongg was until I ran across it on Netives.com, and I was all like, “Oooh – pretty!”
It didn’t stay pretty for very long. There is something about those Flash games you can find all over the internet (don’t even get me started on my Reversi/Othello obsession) that just brings out my inner male:
“Directions? We don’t need no stinking directions!”
Needless to say, it took awhile to figure the damn thing out. And while, yes, I can play the game – for ridiculous periods of time, in fact – I could not begin to explain how it’s played. To say nothing of telling you what the little tiles stand for.
But I’ll give it my best shot.
Okay, so some of the tiles are numbered and those numbers are represented with dots – except for the one, which is represented by something that looks like the bastard offspring of a color chart and a roulette wheel. But that’s fine – I mean, there’s just one of them. Others are numbered as well, and are represented by little lines…except again the one, which looks like a bird. But again, that’s all good and well – there’s only one, so it does tend to cut down on the confusion. Yet another set is also numbered, and all of the numbers are represented by interesting little ideograms that I tend to call things like “little jalapeno guy” and “knitting needles” and I’m sure would make perfect sense if read Chinese. Even the number one.
Because gawd help us that this game should be consistent, or anything.
There are two other sets of tiles; one represents each season – winter, spring, summer and fall. Another set represents four different kinds of plants – bamboo, orchid, plum and chrysanthemum (which I can barely pronounce, never mind spell). All are easy to identify, thank goodness.
So, the game is easy enough to play – you just match the tiles exactly…oh, wait. You don’t have to match the tiles exactly – any two seasons will do. You can match summer and winter, for example. The same goes for the plants; you can match up a bamboo with an orchid, and so on and so on. Just don’t try to match up a season with plant, because apparently cross-tile relationships aren’t allowed.
Think what the neighbors would say.
So, as I was saying, you don’t have to match the tiles exactly…well, $&*@. You DO have to match the numbered tiles exactly – you can’t match up a number three represented by dots with a number three represented by interesting little ideograms. And there are two rebel tiles that don’t belong with any set – one is a red, squiggly line that vaguely resembles a squashed mosquito and another that, if pressed, I’d say it looks like a bunch of mown grass that The Young One forgot to sweep off the sidewalk. You can’t match up the squashed mosquito with the pile of grass, either.
Anyhoo – easy enough to play. Right. You just match up the tiles the computer lets you match up. But only if they’re not covered or flanked on the left or right by another tile. I think. I’m pretty sure there’s a strategy to it, although I’ll be damned if I can tell you what it is. There must be, because each game is supposedly completely solvable.
Oh, never mind. Wanna learn how to play Hearts?