colorful solitaire Mah Jongg game
xmahjongg [--display display] [options]
Real Mah Jongg is a social game that originated in China thousands of years ago. Four players, named after the four winds, take tiles from a wall in turn. The best tiles are made of ivory and wood; they click pleasantly when you knock them together. Computer Solitaire Mah Jongg (xmahjongg being one of the sillier examples) is nothing like that but it’s fun, or it must be, since there are like 300 shareware versions available for Windows. This is for X11 and it’s free.
HOW TO PLAY
The object is to remove all Mah Jongg tiles from the playing field by taking one matching pair at a time. Generally, two tiles match if they have identical pictures on top. There are some exceptions: any season tile (spring, summer, autumn, or winter) matches any other season, and any flower tile (bamboo, orchid, plum, or chrysathemum) matches any other flower. There are 144 tiles in all -- one of each season and flower, and four copies of each of the following: 1 to 9 dots; 1 to 9 bamboo sticks; characters for 1 to 9; the four winds (north, south, east, and west); and three dragons (red, green, and white).
Only free tiles can be removed. A tile is free if its entire top face is unobstructed and either its left or its right edge is open. (When looking at the left and right edges, only tiles on the same level count.)
The rules are simple, but winning, it turns out, can be pretty hard. It’s easy to make a move that causes a stalemate thirty or more moves later. What’s worse, the --any-boards option lets xmahjongg create boards that cannot be solved at all!
CONTROLS AND APPEARANCE
To select a free tile, simply click it with the left mouse button and it will light up. Click it again to deselect it. If you try to select a non-free tile, xmahjongg will beep at you. To remove a matched pair, just select one of the pair and click on the other one. The number in the upper left corner tells you how many tiles you have left. This is all you really need to know to play the game.
Xmahjongg comes with several features that may dismay purists, but make the game more pleasant to play. First is the match count, an array of small gold coins in the upper middle. Each coin represents one potential match on the board. (If three mutually matching tiles are free, it counts as three matches, and if four are free, that’s six matches.) This will let you know when the game is over (no gold coins means no matches -- a dead end) and when you’re getting close.
The five buttons along the top right have the following functions:
Additionally, the Escape key deselects any selected tile.
You can use the arrow keys and the spacebar to play xmahjongg without using the mouse. These keys control the cursor, which is shown as a flashing tile. The arrow keys move the cursor around on the board in the obvious directions. The spacebar is like clicking the mouse button on the cursor tile: it either selects the tile or removes a matching pair.
The hint key, ‘h’, is also useful for playing without the mouse. Experiment with ‘h’, the spacebar, and the Return key to see how this works. When a hint is active, the spacebar is like clicking on one of the flashing hint tiles, while the Return key is like clicking on two of them (so it removes the tiles in one stroke). This method gives the fastest playing speed.
If you get bored with xmahjongg’s original layout and appearance, never fear: it comes with several tilesets (tile images) and layouts (tile arrangements). In addition to these, xmahjongg can read layout files from the original xmahjongg, KDE Mahjongg, and Kyodai Mahjongg, and tilesets in KDE Mahjongg, Gnome Mahjongg, and Kyodai Mahjongg format. (However, tilesets must be converted to GIF format before xmahjongg can read them.) See the -l and -t options.
Long option names can be abbreviated to their unique prefixes.
Please email suggestions, additions, patches and bugs to email@example.com. The following features have not made it into 3.0 as of yet:
xmahjongg version 3 is a complete rewrite by Eddie Kohler <firstname.lastname@example.org> of xmahjongg versions 1 and 2 by Jeff S. Young <email@example.com>.
The default tileset was originally created in color by Dorothy Robinson <firstname.lastname@example.org> with Mark A. Holm <email@example.com>. The publically available version was in black-and-white. Holm copyrighted the tiles in 1988, giving permission to copy and distribute for non-profit purposes. The significantly altered color version that comes with xmahjongg was created by Eddie Kohler in 1993. The ‘small’ tileset was found at http://www.mahjongg.com/, and is presumably by Berrie Bloem. The ‘gnome’ and ‘gnome2’ tilesets were created by Jonathan Buzzard and Max Watson. The ‘dorothys’ and ‘dorwhite’ tilesets were made by Dorothy Robinson <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The ‘real’ tileset was scanned by Mark Sanctuary <email@example.com>.
Many of the layouts are based on layouts designed for Kyodai Mahjongg, a fun Windows Mah Jongg game. In particular, ‘arena’, ‘ceremonial’, ‘deepwell’, ‘farandole’, and ‘theater’ are by Naoki Haga, and ‘hourglass’ and ‘papillon’ are by Vincent Krebs. Kyodai Mahjongg’s Web homepage is http://www.kyodai.com/.
Eddie Kohler, firstname.lastname@example.org