Mahjong is one of the most popular memory and puzzle games in the world and regularly ranks high on the list of best-loved computer brain games.
Origin and history
There are many myths surrounding the origin of this Asian game. Supposedly, it has been played in China for 4,000 years under the name Mah-Jongg, which translates into ‘sparrow’. The name refers to the bird on the game’s number 1 bamboo tile. It is said that in earlier times the pleasure of playing the game featuring the elaborately decorated tiles was reserved for the Chinese upper classes. According to legend, for a long time commoners were subject to severe punishment should they dare to play the ‘sparrow game’. Based on what we know today, this legend likely belongs in the realm of fairy tales. Historians believe that Mahjong became extremely popular in all of China at the latest by the 15th century. Originating in the province around Shanghai, in time the board game spread to most of East Asia. In Japan, for example, the game is known as ‘Maque’ and in Taiwan as ‘Majiang’.
Experts are not always in agreement as to the precise origin and history of the game. One thing is certain, however: American Joseph Park Babcock discovered the game on one of his trips to China in the 19th century and subsequently marketed the game idea in the United States. Armed with his own rules and interesting history, Babcock applied for a patent for the board game. Success was not far behind as the Americans loved the exotic game. Unfortunately, the hype didn’t last long and Mahjong was soon at risk of disappearing from the Western world. Until that is, the computer age helped the ancient game experience a revival in the middle of the 20th century. Thanks to computers and the Internet, the game got off to a flying start and eventually became a classic for both PC and smartphone in its many versions.
In the 1980s the computer game was initially launched on the market with the name ‘Shanghai’, with modified rules and as a single-player solitary version. Today there are lots of clones and variations of the game available for free on the Internet. Many users find this to be the perfect game for an occasional bit of entertainment: from easy-peasy to super difficult, with the added pressure of a timer or taking your sweet time. Whatever your preference, on this site you will find a selection of free versions of the exotic classic game, including the popular ‘Titans’, ‘Shanghai’ and ‘Connect’ versions. What’s more, we are continuously expanding our Mahjong collection, so you will always discover something new. All games can be played online, work on all devices, and will remain free of charge, guaranteed.
The rules of Mahjong are easy to understand. The objective of the game is to remove all of the tiles from the board. At the start of the game, all tiles are piled on the board, face-up, in a pyramid format. Depending on the version of the game, you must either eliminate all of the tiles in the shortest time possible or amass as many points as possible. There are also game versions in which you have to find special tiles. However, the principle of the game always remains the same: to rid the board of all the tiles.
Similar to an online Matching Game, the player’s task is to find two identical tiles on the board. The tiles are removed from the board when you click on them. However, you are not permitted to just randomly select any tile. You can only select tiles that are open (exposed) on one of the tile’s long sides. Disallowed, and thus non-clickable, tiles are those that are ‘walled-in’, meaning that they have an adjacent tile directly to their right and left. If at least one of these sides is open, you can select the tile. It is also not possible to select tiles that are covered by another tile.
A tip for beginners: Always first remove tiles that expose other tiles. In other words, you should first eliminate high towers and long lines. If a tile is open and removing this tile will not uncover other tiles, it’s best to look for alternative moves and set aside this certain tile for later. That’s because the game set contains every pattern more than just twice.
Online and free
You can play your favorite game at any time wherever you may be at www.FreeMahjong.com. So that you never become bored with this classic brain and puzzle game, we offer a range of versions and game options on this site. The rules of the various versions are displayed on the spot, clearly and concisely, after you choose a game. This makes it easy to constantly try out something new. No longer want the classic Chinese design? Then how about Egyptian hieroglyphs, delicious sweets, or playing cards? You can play in either timed or relaxed mode. There are also tonnes of possible tile configurations. In addition to the classic tile formation, you will also find surprising and challenging formations that tease the brain. The 3D versions are particularly complex and difficult. Mastering this challenge will require courage, a bit of skill, and practice.