How to Play Mahjong Solitaire

Mahjong Overview

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Mahjong is a solitaire matching game that uses a set of mahjong tiles rather than cards. The first mahjong solitaire game was created in 1981 by Brodie Lockard and has gained in popularity since then. Mahjong Solitaire is based on an ancient Chinese game called “The Turtle.” The tiles come from the four-player game known as mahjong.

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The object of the game is to match all 144 tiles and clear the board by removing all the tiles from the layout.

Mahjong Rules and Strategy


Layouts can differ in pattern, size and height, and the game can have hundreds of different layouts.

The Play

You must remove the tiles in pairs. A pair consists of two tiles which are “free” and identical.

A tile is “free” when both of these conditions are met:

  • no other tile is lying above or is partially covering it
  • no other tile is lying to the left or to the right of it

An exception to this are the Flowers and Seasons tiles. They are non-identical matching tiles and belong to the same type. All the Flowers tiles match one another and all the Season tiles match one another.

Be careful not to match the “wrong” pairs, or you may find yourself stuck by having unmatchable tiles blocking other key tiles so you can’t clear the layout. You must be careful before removing a pair, you should look for where the remaining pair is in the layout and plan ahead. If all four of an identical tile are free, remove them to ‘unclutter’ the field.

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Related Mahjong Articles

Over the years we have posted quite a few articles about Mahjong Rules. Read on to learn additional Mahjong rules, tips, and strategy.