Mahjong and Mahjong Solitaire are played with special game pieces called tiles. Mahjong tiles, like the game itself originated in China with the earliest remaining mahjong set dating back to the early 1870s.
It's important to note that the info below uses tile images from our Mahjong Solitaire game, and they can slightly differ from tiles used in the original mahjong. See this wiki article about mahjong tiles for reference to the original mahjong(board game) tiles.
The standard set for mahjong usually has 144 tiles which can be organized into three categories:
Suited tiles have a suit and a rank. There are 3 types of suits: circles, bamboos, and symbols. Each suited tile is assigned a rank from 1 to 9.
Circle tiles are represented by a series of colored circles. The first tile in a suit is represented by one big circle, commonly nicknamed the "big pancake". The second tile consists of 2 circles, the third tile of 3 circles, etc. Circle colors don't carry any gameplay meaning and are there for easier recognition.
Circles are also referred to as dots or coins and represent monetary copper coins.
Bamboo tiles are represented by bamboo sticks. In some variations, the first bamboo tile depicts a bird image instead, most commonly a peacock. Similar to the circle suit, bamboo tiles range from 1 to 9 with each tile having one more bamboo stick than the previous.
From the historical perspective, bamboo tiles actually represent rope strings that were used to tie 100 coins together.
Tiles in the symbols suit depict Chinese characters. The rank of the tile is displayed at the top, with the character below. In each tile character is the same and only rank changes.
Chinese character engraved on the tiles is a myriad and represents 100 strings of coins, and as you know from the bamboos section, one string equals 100 coins, thus 1 myriad equals 10,000 coins.
Honor tiles don't have either rank or suit. There are two types of honor tiles: dragons and winds.
There are 3 different dragon tiles: red dragon, green dragon, and white dragon.
The red dragon is displayed together with the Chinese character 中 which means center. The green dragon is displayed together with the 發 character, which doesn't mean anything by itself but is a part of 發財/发财 (make a fortune). The last one is a blue dragon. In original mahjong sets, it is usually represented by an empty white tile with a blue border, but in our version of Mahjong Solitaire, it also depicts a blue dragon.
There are four types of Wind tiles, each representing a cardinal direction: North, South, East, West.
Flower and Season tiles
In Mahjong Solitaire, flower and season tiles are a bonus set of tiles, each appearing only once during the game. They act similar to "joker" card in card games. It's possible to match flower tiles with each other, and season tiles with each other, but you can't match season and flower tiles.
Mahjong Solitaire comes in different sorts and flavors. There are dozens of games online styled into different themes, from valentine themes to animals and candies. Our game allows you to choose from two mahjong solitaire themes: classic mahjong solitaire and numbers mahjong.
Interestingly, even though original mahjong sets are traditionally made of bone, there still were many variations of mahjong tiles with some sets featuring images of animals, fine arts, and noble professions.
Fun fact! Mahjong tiles are a part of the Unicode Standard. This means that mahjong tiles are recognized by software that supports Unicode and can be rendered correctly on different computer systems. For example, you can copy any mahjong symbol below and send it to your friend via Facebook or Discord, or use it on web pages.