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How an anime catgirl helped me finally understand mahjong

It’s less weird than it sounds, honest.

Image credit: Yostar Games

For years, I have been fascinated by mahjong.

Like - I would suspect - many people born in the UK, my first knowledge of mahjong came from its single-player variant, which was bundled with Microsoft Windows alongside Minesweeper and Solitaire for a number of years. (You can still download it for free on PC, if you can bear suffering through the Microsoft Store.)

That mahjong, of course, isn’t actually mahjong, but a tile-matching game that repurposes standard mahjong’s 144 chunky tiles - each decorated with a value in one of the game’s seven different suits and honours, from bamboo to seasons - in a stacked formation that players must gradually whittle down by removing exposed pairs.

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Matt Jarvis avatar
Matt Jarvis: After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.
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