Mahjong Solitaire, also recognized as Shanghai Solitaire or MahJongg Solitaire, stands as a captivating single-player game that hinges on the art of tile pairing. This game, which saw its inception in the 1980s, borrows its tile set from the traditional Chinese game of Mahjong but diverges significantly in terms of gameplay. Unlike the strategy-centric multiplayer Mahjong, Mahjong Solitaire is predicated on matching identical tiles to declutter the board.

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Game Setup

Customizable Layouts

One of the intriguing aspects of Mahjong Solitaire is the liberty to customize the game’s layout. This flexibility ensures a unique experience in each game, adjusting the difficulty level to the player’s preference.

Standard Tile Set

The game employs a standard set of 144 tiles, which players arrange randomly in a pyramid structure. This structure is characterized by four descending layers, with each layer housing fewer tiles than the one below.

Popular Layouts


While players have the freedom to design their own layouts, certain configurations like the ‘spider,’ ‘pyramid,’ and ‘square’ layouts are among the favorites. Online versions of the game often feature the ‘spider’ layout as the default.

Playing Mahjong Solitaire


The primary goal in Mahjong Solitaire is to eliminate all tiles from the board by forming pairs of identical tiles.

Tile Matching Rules

●Identical Pairs: You can only pair tiles with the same pattern, except for “seasons” and “flowers” tiles, which can be paired in more ways.

●Exposure: For a tile to be paired, it must be “exposed,” which means it can’t be hidden by other tiles or covered by tiles above it.

Strategies for Victory

●Top-Down Approach: Begin by pairing tiles on the uppermost layer to reveal hidden tiles below.

●Forward Planning: Consider multiple moves ahead to avoid trapping essential tiles.

●Reserve Moves: Hold off on pairing tiles that don’t open up new moves until they’re needed.

Game Rules

●Four-Level Layout: The game must commence with a four-layer tile structure, adding complexity and strategic depth.

●Exposure Rule: Only exposed tiles can be paired and removed from the board.

●Limited Shuffles: Players are typically allowed up to five shuffles per game, though some game variations offer unlimited shuffles.

Winning the Game

Clearing the entire board of tiles signifies victory in Mahjong Solitaire. Achieving this requires a blend of strategy, patience, and, occasionally, a bit of luck. Practicing the game can substantially improve one’s ability to foresee and execute winning moves.

Scoring and Competition

While clearing the board is the ultimate goal, many versions of Mahjong Solitaire include scoring systems for an added competitive edge. These systems may evaluate:

●Completion Time: The quicker the board is cleared, the higher the score.

●Shuffle Count: Fewer shuffles during a game can lead to a higher score.

●Tile Values: Certain tiles might carry specific point values, influencing the score.

●Bonus Points: Quick completions or clearing the board without any shuffles might yield extra points.

Players often challenge themselves to beat their own high scores or compete against others in scored versions of the game.


Many people love playing Mahjong Solitaire because it is full of strategy, customizing, and challenge. Mahjong Solitaire is a fun game that will keep you coming back for more, whether you’re an experienced player trying to beat your best score or a beginner eager to learn how to play.