Classic Mahjong Solitaire – Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking for a way of passing the time and solving problems in the process, classic Mahjong solitaire is one of the best games that you can play. 

At first glance, this puzzle game may look complex and even a tad intimidating, yet once you familiarize yourself with the rules, and have gotten used to how the game is played, you’ll realise that it is in fact, a whole lot of fun. 

The classic Mahjong solitaire matching game is played with decorative tiles with unique images on them, with the aim of game being for players to clear the layout by matching up various sets of tiles. 

Here’s a look at the basics of playing Mahjong classic solitaire free. 

How to Play Classic Mahjong Solitaire

Classic Mahjong  solitaire is basically a puzzle-solving matching game utilizing a set of Mahjong tiles. 

The aim of the game is, very simply, to clear the playing area of tiles by matching up various sets of tiles. Players are only permitted to remove pairs of tiles which are matching where each tile has at least one side (either the right or the left) free, with no other tiles placed on top. 

With each set of matching tiles that you pair up, you will reveal and unlock more tiles which can then also be paired.

Mahjong Solitaire: Classic Rules

The classic Mahjong solitaire setup utilizes 144 tiles, arranged in a unique four-layer pattern layout with the tile faces pointing upwards so that they are visible to the player. Tiles which can be moved either to the right, or to the left, without disturbing the other tiles in the layout, is referred to as being ‘exposed’. 

In total there are 72 pairs of tiles in a game of Mahjong solitaire classic. Just like with playing cards, the tiles have suits which are as follows: 

  • 4 characters 
  • 4 bamboos 
  • 4 circles 
  • 4 dragons 
  • 4 winds 
  • 1 seasons 
  • 1 flowers 

Any matching pairs of tiles which are exposed in the layout are removed one at a time. This gradually reveals the layers of tiles which are located on the lower layers of the layout. 

Pairs of tiles are only able to be removed one at a time. All pairs need their suits to match before they can be removed, other than Flowers and Seasons. Because there is only one of each suit, any Flower or Season combination will count as a pair. 

Once there are no more pairs remaining, players can then utilize a ‘shuffle.’ At the start of each new game, players are allowed five shuffles. Once there are no shuffles remaining, and no more pairs left either, the game is over. 

Once a board is cleared, players will then move to a new board, which will have a completely different layout to the last. 

Tips for How to Win in classic Mahjong solitaire

At the end of the day, Mahjong solitaire Mahjong classic is a game, and as such there are no magic tricks or cheat codes you can use to guarantee you victory. There are, however, a wide range of strategy tips you can implement that will help to increase your chances of winning. 

Plan ahead 

Even though the aim of the game is to remove matching tiles, when you do remove matching pairs, try to remove ones that will open up new possibilities for you to match up future tiles. Try to think strategically when removing matching tiles and think how they’ll help with future tiles. 

Think carefully 

Classic Mahjong solitaire is a puzzle game where your reaction times matters only if you choose to play against the time. Take your time to study the board carefully to find available moves and think them through. 

Don’t be scared to delay moves 

Even though you could easily remove a pair of matching tiles, if removing them will offer you no immediate gain, don’t be afraid to hold off on removing the tiles until an opening comes up that will help you on your next move too. 


Before we wrap things up and leave you to enjoy a game of classic Mahjong solitaire, we’ll leave you with a few common FAQ about the game. 


Yes. Mahjong is a puzzle game requiring attentiveness and the ability to solve puzzles. It engages the problem-solving parts of your brain and is very beneficial. 


Classic Mahjong solitaire is a game of Chinese origin that is derived from Mahjong that is a four-player tile game with an entirely different set of rules.


Technically, because classic Mahjong solitaire is a game of chance as well as skill, there is a very small probability that a game may not be winnable. However, the very vast majority of online classic Mahjong solitaire layouts have been developed to ensure that each game can be won.