Official National Mah Jongg League Internet Game
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Instructions for Online play

This document is to explain how to play the online game. It does not explain the rules of the National Mah Jongg League, Inc. mah jongg game or the "Official Standard Hands". To find out information on these please contact the National Mah Jongg League, Inc. This document as well as the game are a work in progress and are subject to change.

Once the game is set up and installed on your computer, all that is needed to start the game is to make sure you are online, then double click on the "Offical NMJL Mah Jongg" icon on your desktop. If you are not online, the program will attempt to inform you of this and exit.

The game will then attempt to connect the game server. There might be congestion, blocked by a firewall, blocked by Internet security software, or other problems and the game may not be able to connect at this time (error 10060). If so, the game will timeout and inform you of this and exit.

Once you are connected, the game will show the message of the day that is the same for all players. Once you click ok, the game will then check the assets of the game and verify that they are all correct (Anti Virus) and up to date. If any of them are not, the game will automatically update them for you and then continue.

When the game starts it will check your display resolution and see if it is 800x600 HiColor. If it is not, the program will attempt to change your display for you with your permission only for the duration of the game. If you do not have your display set to 800x600 HiColor and don't allow the program to change it, the game will attempt to continue anyway. The game will then display the lobby.


Lobby

Once you are in the lobby, the room with the door, you will see 5 buttons. The lobby also has 3 areas that are active. There are 3 buttons at the bottom of the screen with labels "Support","Exit", and "www.nmjl.org". The "Support" button simply runs your default browser and takes you to http://www.nmjl.org/software. If this doesn't work, then you probably have a configuration issue with your default browser. The "www.nmjl.org" button simply uses your default browser to go to the National Mah Jongg League, Inc. web site. The "Exit" button is used to exit the lobby and is the correct way to exit from the lobby. There are 2 buttons in the upper right of the screen. These are on every screen in the game and do the same thing in every screen. The "-" button is used to mininize the game and place it on the task bar on the desktop. This is standard for windows. The "X" button is the close button and is used to exit the game, but should only be used when there isn't another way to exit. This is provided for emergencies and shouldn't be used as a matter of course.

There are 3 active areas in the lobby that will cause the cursor to change from an arrow to a hand. These are the "Options", "Help", and the "Door". The "Door" is in the center of the screen. The "Options" is to the left of the door and the "Help" desk is to the right of the door. When you click on "Options", you are taken to the Options screen that is explained below. When you click on the "Help" desk, it does exactly the same as the "Support" button. When you click on "Door" in the center of the lobby, you are given the option of which Room to select.


Options

When "Options" is selected, a dialog box is displayed allowing for the setting of options. The option at the bottom turns the sound effects in the game on or off. The default setting is on. The next option up is "Show Your Score". This displays your current score and statistics. For more information on Scoring, see the bottom of this page. The next option up sets the timeout time when a discard is played. If the timeout is reached, then the continue button will be selected for you. The default time is 5 seconds. The next option is the color of the tiles which can be either white or ivory. The default setting is white. The option at the top shows your screen alias and allows you to change your Account Information. When the "change" button is selected another dialog box is presented with the following: your NMJL Membership ID, your Account Number, your online Alias, and your email address. Your Account Number cannot be changed. Your Access Code is not shown and must be kept private. Your Alias can be CHANGED but only 5 times per year and you only have 1 Alias at a time. Once you change your alias, the previous alias becomes available for another player to use. Your alias can not start or end with a space. Your email address must be your current email address and must be kept current by you. Below this is your subscription status. Once you have made the changes that you would like, you can select update or cancel. Since these changes are made on the server, if you select update it will take a few seconds to make the updates. Once you are done with the Options you can select OK to return to the lobby.


Waiting Room

If you click on the double doors in the lobby, you are presented with a selection of which waiting room to go to. Once you select the waiting room you would like, you are taken to that waiting room. In this room you can chat with other players and start a game. In the center of the room is a chat box with a gray area at the top of it and a white box at the bottom. To the right of this is a list of the players that are in the waiting room; it doesn't show the players that are already seated at a table. You can see who is seated at a table by looking at each table and seeing the alias of the player seated at the table. If you wish to chat with the other players in the waiting room, click on the white box, type the message you wish to send, then hit the enter (or return) key to send the message. Once 4 players agree to start a game, they can pick a table to sit at. To do this just click on an empty seat at a table. You will then be seated at the table and waiting for the game to start. You are in a private area now and your chats will be seen only by the players at that table. If you return to the waiting room and chat there, the players seated at a table will not see your chats. When all 4 players are at the table and ready to start, the box by your alias will need to be checked. After all 4 players have checked their aliases, then the game will try to start. The game then goes to another area, freeing the table for others, and the game is ready to play. This way a table in the waiting room can be used again and again and many more than the 14 tables shown can be played at one time. This is also why, even though many, many games are being played at any particular time, the waiting room appears to be empty. Games in progress are not displayed. Below the "Return to Lobby" button, there is an approximate count of the online players. This is updated each minute.
The 3 waiting rooms are:
1) No Score room for practice games and unscored games
2) Timed room for time limited games. See instructions there.
3) Offical Hands room is for ranked games without a time limit.


Playing Mah Jongg Online


Starting
The game table window situates each player on each side of the wall. The player's alias is displayed on their side of the wall, "East" is noted to the left of the alias. The dice are thrown and the wall is broken by "East" and the computer deals your tiles. The table you see will display only your tiles, which you will see at the bottom of the screen. Tiles are placed in suit sequence from left to right ending with winds,dragons and then jokers.

Charlestons
The Charleston proceeds passing to/from right, then across, then left. Select tiles to pass, when requested, by clicking on tiles to pass. Three tiles must be displayed above your hand before pass can complete. If you change your mind you can click on a tile displayed above your hand and it will be placed back in your hand. Tiles passed to you will be displayed in suit sequence and highlighted in red. At the end of first Charleston, you will be asked if you want to continue with the second Charleston. Click the Yes or No button to proceed. A message is displayed in the chat window showing you the other players' responses. The Charleston continues as second left, across and right. Once completed, you will be asked if you want a courtesy pass. Four buttons are displayed for none, 1 tile, 2 tiles or 3 tiles. You must click on one of the buttons to continue. Messages of the number of tiles to be passed by all players are displayed in the chat window. Number of tiles to pass between players is determined by the least amount. If North wants 2 tiles and South wants 3 tiles, 2 tiles are passed. Select tiles to pass by clicking on tiles. Once the Charlestons are completed, East will discard. Pass Status provides the status of the pass and what the colors mean.

When Another Player Discards
The discard tile is displayed above your hand with three buttons to the right of the tile. Your choices are Call, MahJongg, or Continue. The computer will analyze your hand and if the tile will not complete a Pung (3 of a kind), Kong (4 of a kind) or Quint (5 of a kind) or is a joker, the Call button will be dim and non-functional. A timer will start allowing you 5 seconds (the timer can be changed to 5, 10, or 15 in options) before defaulting to a Continue and your name will turn yellow. The game will go faster when everyone decides quickly and hits Continue. The game cannot continue until everyone has made a choice. Your name is red, when it is your turn. Your name is orange during an exposure, and your name is blue once you have discarded.

1) Use Call to call for an exposure
2) Use MahJongg to call for Mah Jongg
3) Use Continue if you don't want the discard tile

Arranging Tiles
If you wish to arrange your tiles, first click on the arrange button. Then click the right mouse button to select the tile and then move the mouse between the tiles where you wish to place the selected tile. Then click the right mouse button to place the tile. The left mouse button will cancel the operation. This is not an extremely fast process and so is not recommended.

Discarded (Dead) Tiles
There are two ways to view discarded tiles. First you can use the tile button in the upper right hand corner of the chat window. This will change the chat window into small versions of the discarded tiles and will change the tile button into a bubble button. Click on the bubble button to see the chat again. Also the bubble button will turn red when a chat message is received. The second way to see what has been discarded is to hit the "Discard" button. This will change the entire screen and show regular size tiles of the discarded tiles in sorted order. When you are finished viewing the discarded tiles, hit the "Done" button.

Drawing Tiles from the Wall
When it's your turn to draw a tile, the drawn tile is displayed above your hand. A choice button is displayed on both sides of the tile. "Pick Wall" on the left to place the tile in your hand or "Discard Wall" to automatically discard the tile to the table. If you accept the tile for your hand, you must click on a tile in your hand to discard. The game will wait until your discard is complete, either from the wall tile drawn or from your hand.

When you Call a discard tile, the called tile is displayed above your hand. You must then select/click on the tiles to be displayed with it. The computer will highlight acceptable tiles. The computer does not recognize if the hand you will play is exposed or concealed and will allow you to call and display tiles for a concealed hand. If a concealed hand is exposed, then it may be declared dead by another player.

Joker Exchange
As in the table game, you may take jokers displayed by other players but only when it is your turn. You must accept your drawn tile. Click on the joker you wish to exchange. Your tile is swapped with the joker and the joker is placed at the right end of your hand.

Declaring Mah Jongg
A Mah Jongg may be declared using a discard or when accepting a wall tile. Click the "MahJongg" button to declare Mah Jongg. Tiles are then displayed for your Mah Jongg. Click on tiles in the lower area to move them to the upper area. Do this in the order of the hand that you have chosen. You can also use the gap tile to place spaces between pungs, kongs, and quints. If you click on a tile in the upper area it will be placed back in the lower area. Once all 14 tiles are placed on the top area then you can continue by clicking "Done". Enter the score exactly as it is on your card for your hand. Make sure you enter eXposed (i.e. X25) or Concealed (i.e. C45) for the hand. The game will figure out all bonuses for you. All of the players are asked to verify if you have a valid Mah Jongg. Each player has 15 seconds to agree or disagree. Failure to respond after 15 seconds defaults to "Agree". If all players agree, the game is completed. If all players do not agree then the hand will be declared dead.

End of Game
Once a game is completed, each player is asked if they want to play again. Each player has 15 seconds to respond. Failure to respond after 15 seconds defaults to "No". If all four choose "Yes", a new game is started, otherwise all players go back to the Lobby.


Ranking

Your average score is used to compute your rank and can be found in Options. Rank is your percentile relative to the rest of the players. For example, if your rank is 24.445%, then you are 24.445% (or about 1/4 the way) in rank with approximately 1/4 of the players ranked lower than you and 3/4 of the players ranked higher than you. 0% is the lowest rank possible and 99.999% is the highest rank possible.

There are 3 rooms, No Score, Timed, and Official. Your rank is NOT displayed in No Score as scoring is not the point of No Score.

There are more details about rank on the Questions page.

Exit Percentage

Your exit percentage is calculated using the total number of games you have played in a season and the number of games you exited abnormally. The exit percentage increases each time a game is exited abnormally. There are more details about Exit Percentage on the Questions page.

Practice Tables


In the No Score room there are practice tables located across the top of the screen. These tables allow a player to practice playing the online game but are not suitable for practice of Mah Jongg. The purpose is to allow you to get used to using the online system and become familiar with how it works. To start, go to the No Score room and click on an empty seat at one of the practice tables. Once at the table, you will have to click the box by your name to let the system know that you are ready to start. When you do this, the practice game will start. You will be the only one playing and the other seats will be played by the computer. They are very, very dumb players. You can practice passing the Charlestons and using the continue button. You can call for an exposure or call for Maj. When you are finished practicing, you should call for Maj and exit properly by clicking the "Back to Lobby" button.

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