Client Comparisons & Thoughts

Discussion on on-line and off-line mahjong softwares.

Moderator: Shirluban

Post Reply
Fresh Reacher
Fresh Reacher
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:32 pm
Location: Liverpool/Cambridge, UK

Client Comparisons & Thoughts

Post by Rosti » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:08 pm

Basically, I'm curious on hearing people's input and thoughts on various online mahjong clients. I've tried out a fair few in my time as a player, but I'm wondering if maybe there are a few that I've not tried because they've not been brought to my attention, or maybe ones I've dismissed because there are features I was unaware of, or have since been introduced.

At this point in time I'm not really interested in paying for anything. I wouldn't be completely against the idea, but at the very least I'm too interested in trying something that requires me to pay up front, or only gives me a very limited trial period before I have to cough up money for it.

My thoughts and opinions on the ones I've tried so far:

This is my main mahjong client, by a fairly large margin. It's in Japanese, but there's an excellent online English guide, and I can get by perfectly fine for general playing at least, despite not being fluent. I can find players quickly, the skill level (in the Dan rank rooms at least) is pretty nice and it tracks my games and rating/ranking stats. I'm still fairly curious as to how some of the features work such as tournaments, but I've not had time to properly experiment with them yet, and I'm not sure if they're even possible on a free account.

Jan Ryu Mon
I tried this for a day or two. I thought the client was pretty swish visually, but I didn't really like the actual functionality. It was a fair bit more confusing to navigate than I found Tenhou to be, nor could I find any sort of really good English guide. The skill of the other players I played against seemed a bit more frustrating, and I also kept getting odd pop-up error messages in Japanese that I couldn't decipher.

Mahjong Time
It's in English (and other languages), which is a plus, but the only one I've really found. It's not centred around Riichi mahjong all that much, and it's very slow to find players. I also think that the "QuickMahjong" one-hand mode is an absolutely atrocious idea, and my distaste is exaggerated by the fact that it seems to be the only thing anyone I come across on there is willing to play.

The main other two I've looked into but haven't actually tried first-hand are Ron2, which basically seems to be almost identical to Tenhou except it won't track statistics unless you pay for it, and FourWinds Mahjong which seems to not have a free version.

So yeah, I'd be keen to hear people's opinion and thoughts on their own favourite ways of playing online mahjong. Perhaps either correcting my incorrect views on some of the clients I've mentioned, or maybe offering other ones that are quite good and I've not mentioned here.

I'm also curious to know if Tenhou has much extra to offer if you have a paid account. If there are some pretty nice features (besides being able to go back to the premium client) then I might be tempted because ¥500 a month really isn't that huge a sum given how much I play it.
Cambridge University Riichi Mahjong Society - anyone living in or around Cambridge welcome to attend

Senior Reacher
Senior Reacher
Posts: 106
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:10 am

Re: Client Comparisons & Thoughts

Post by Poochy » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:01 pm

As far as free online multiplayer is concerned, I think Tenhou's the best one by far. There are a couple things about the interface that irk me, but it's definitely quite good, and surprisingly so for a free game.

I've never bought a paid subscription to Tenhou, but as far as I know, premium subscriptions just let you play the premium client as well as the Windows executable client, which have the ability to save replays to disk (as opposed to the normal client, which just saves a list of recent replay IDs so you can fetch them from the server), let you play at the Houou tables if you have at least 7th Dan and R2000, a lot of cosmetic improvements, and the Windows client has a bunch more cosmetic customization options. I think there's also the occasional elite-level tournament that's also only open to subscribers with high ratings and dan ranks, but I'm not sure.

As for an English guide to Jan Ryu Mon, here's one: Don't bother playing it. I tried it before, and quickly found lots of evidence that suggests it was programmed by drunken chimpanzees slamming on keyboards. And the "skill" of other players will be frustrating, because the last time I played it, I ran into a bunch of ham-fisted cheaters who seem to collude with each other. On at least one occasion the pair of suspects had the exact same avatars. I don't have irrefutable proof they were cheating, but I have statistically significant evidence, for which the second most likely explanation is that someone in Japan tried to clone Amae Koromo and it went horribly awry.

I've also played a few paid Mahjong games, of which I have a few highlights:

Mahjong Fight Club: The arcade version is awesome, but it's also rather expensive to play and nearly impossible to find outside of Japan. And in Japanese arcades, the Mahjong games are almost always in the smoking-permitted section and popular enough to have a bunch of smokers at them, so if you're a non-smoker, you'll probably want to wear one of those surgical face masks. If you're just in Japan on tourism, do be warned that MFC arcade data gets deleted if you don't play for 180 days. I like the double-tap system (tap once to highlight a tile, tap the highlighted tile to discard it), but that's just a matter of personal preference.

MJ4 Evolution: I have pretty much the same opinion as with MFC arcade. Its nonstandard rules modes are quite different from MFC's, so if you like variety, try alternating between MFC and MJ4.

Mahjong Fight Club DS: I consider this the definitive handheld console Mahjong game, but it has the problem that there weren't many players on Wi-Fi when I tried, which also means matchups are slow. It does fill up to 2 empty spots with CPU players if the matching has taken too long without a full table, though. And there's no subscription fees for Wi-Fi, either. It also lacks many of the modes from MFC arcade - for Wi-Fi play, there's only standard tonpuusen and hanchan, no 3-player or any of MFC arcade's special modes. For local multiplayer and vs. CPU, though, it has many pages of options you can use to customize the rules to suit your tastes.

Touhou Unreal Mahjong: An awesome PC game, and probably my favorite PC Mahjong game in terms of overall quality. The one downside is it's nearly impossible to find for sale outside of Japan, since it's doujin software. You need the serial key inside the CD case to play online (since it basically doubles as your account login), although there's no restrictions on single-player modes even if you don't enter a serial key. I found my copy of both the game itself and the Revision2 expansion pack at a store in Akihabara - I don't remember the name, but it's basically got a wall of Touhou around and inside the entrance, so it's pretty hard to miss. Well worth the ~2800 yen if you ask me, and there's no subscription fee. It's also got a story mode where you play hanchan against three CPU players per table, with some interesting rule variations. Characters each have a special power, which can be used when charged up if the stage's rules allow special powers. Each stage has a set of table rules, which range from competition-like rules (no specials, kuitan nashi for one table, another has ippatsu nashi, kan-dora nashi, ura-dora nashi) to the downright insane (27 red dora tiles, one of each number in each suit, and ura-dora is always revealed even if you didn't riichi). These can also be used in online play (the table creator chooses the stage, which is also shown on the table list so you know what rules you're getting into), although it defaults to the normal table, which is vanilla rules with no special abilities.

Post Reply