During the past few months I have started playing Japanese Mahjong. It’s a really fun game that involves a great deal of strategy. Maybe I’ll write a blog about the overall game in the future, but for now I would like to talk about the most popular place to play mahjong online: Tenhou.
When someone gets on Tenhou the first thing they will notice is that it is entirely in Japanese. Tenhou doesn’t offer any other languages, which is a shame because it will alienate people that want to use their native tongue. The main lobby can be a pain to navigate around since it provides an overwhelming abundance of foreign information. However, if you are willing to learn from this guide provided by arcturus, you will be able to navigate the site in no time.
Compared to other Mahjong applications, Tenhou is far more competitive. In lobby 00 people play matches against other people across the world to boost their rankings. This game has modes with 3 players and 4 players, both with their individual rankings, so you can increase your skills in whichever mode you prefer. Having different rankings is great because 3 player and 4 player Mahjong are distinctly different from each other. With such a well-constructed ranking system, boosting your rank becomes an addictive, yet rewarding challenge.
If you want to play with your friends, you can visit the other lobbies. Tenhou offers many different lobbies, ranging from 0000 to 9999. A lot of servers aren’t being used, so it’s easy to locate a private server to organize friendly games. Here are some specific lobbies if you are curious; 00 is the main lobby, 7447 is the english lobby, and 7448 is the lobby Moe-Alternative plays at.
The developers of Tenhou also added in a couple of minigames for some additional flavor. While there is are 3 mini games, I will only talk about the last one which is a player vs. computers game. The computers dump out the newest tile they get in their hands. They will also not do a ron, pon, or chi. Instead this is a feature to teach you how to create a finishing hand. While this could have been useful, I wish this minigame would have been a feature to play against AIs in a real match. Mahjong is far more about defense than it is about offense, and this mode would have been better used to teach about the defenses of Mahjong.
Additionally, Tenhou uses a time limit function during matches for player turns. In every round, each person starts off with 15 seconds.. The player will want to try to aim for the 5 second mark, but the game will offer 10 extra seconds if you need it. If you use all of the 10 additional seconds, you will only be left with 5 seconds every turn. For newcomers this might prove to be a challenge to overcome since it requires quick decisions and adequate time management. However, it will effectively increase players’ skills and reaction times in the long run, allowing them to gradually improve.
The tiles themselves are distinguishable and drawn well. The sound effects help to create an in-game atmosphere. Dropping down the tile has a nice ring to it, and the riichi voices are good too. Just do not switch over to Economy mode, or else the game will annoy you. Its sound effects sound like your computer is dying and the tiles are drawn so choppily. This mode is only needed if you’re playing on Windows 95 or older.
Overall, Tenhou is definitely a simulation targeted at the hardcore crowd rather than the casual market. If ranked games are your thing, then Tenhou will certainly suit your playstyle. On the other hand, the interface could be improved with minor upgrades such as adding a casual mode and a friends list. However, these are minor complaints, as it is definitely more user-friendly than any other mahjong simulator. I would recommend starting with it if it is your first time playing lewd mahjong (be gentle).