Mahjong might sound intimidatingly exotic if you’ve never played it before, but it could hardly be simpler. Just think of it as the Chinese version of Solitaire, played with tiles rather than cards. 

Like Solitaire, Mahjong isn’t just one game these days. It’s a whole subgenre of games, with different versions to suit different tastes. And, as with Solitaire, all of these versions are utterly addictive slices of casual gaming perfection.

Mahjong is just as accessible as the ubiquitous, Windows-bundled Solitaire, too. All you need to do is visit FreeMahjong.com to play as much as you like.

The most popular single-player version of Mahjong is, fittingly enough, Mahjong Solitaire. Here’s how it works. The aim is simply to match pairs of tiles, the complicating factor being that many of these tiles are stacked on top of each other, so that you need to make pairs in a particular order.

The other complicating factor is that you can only match, and therefore eliminate, a pair of tiles if neither of them is surrounded on both sides by other tiles. 

On the Tiles

This turns Mahjong Solitaire into a sort of cross between a playing card-style matching game and a hidden object game, since you’ll spend a lot of your time narrowing your eyes to search for beautifully designed but fairly abstract symbols, many of which have overlapping colors and styles.

That’s just one of the many, many Mahjong variants available on the website. There’s also Mahjong Time, which has a tension-ratcheting timer; Mahjong Relax, which lets you shuffle the tiles and use unlimited hints; Mahjong Hotel, which sees you working clearing levels to reach the penthouse suite, and loads more. 

There’s even an innovative Dimensions take on the classic game, where you have to clear cuboid tiles from a three-dimensional stack, and the hyper-casual, kid-friendly Monsterjong, which is like a Mahjong-themed take on Toon Blast. 

There are nearly 30 different games to try out, and you can play them all for free on your phone or your PC through the site. Head to www.freemahjong.com right now to check it out. Enjoy!