FAQ by PublicDomain

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 04/23/10 | Printable Version


                            Nichibutsu Mahjong III

NES 1990

Version: 1.0

                              TABLE OF CONTENTS

01.) Introduction                                                 |  G0100  | 
02.) Basics                                                       |  G0200  |
03.) Strategies                                                   |  G0300  |
04.) Rules                                                        |  G0400  |
05.) Scoring                                                      |  G0500  |
06.) Quiz                                                         |  G0600  |
YY.) Links                                                        |  GYY00  |
ZZ.) Credits & Thanks                                             |  GZZ00  |


01.)                    INTRODUCTION                                 G0100

This guide is about the popular Japanese version of the ancient board game
called "Reach Mahjong". It has many complex rules. If you know Mahjong from
other nationalities or varieties, it is not simply easy to switch over to this
version but it does help to know the basic things already. This game is a
two player game which is different compared to the four player one. It is
usually faster and more direct which is why it may be called
"Attacking Mahjong".

Some parts of the guide use Shift-JIS to represent Japanese characters in
ASCII. To display them properly you may have to switch your brower's encoding

02.)                    BASICS                                       G0200

A takes a new tile and discards one.
LEFT and RIGHT cycle through your tiles.
UP to steal and richi.
B announces you are the winner. This is not done automatically in the game.

Game Modes:
The first mode is just plain old playing Mahjong. Choose the opponent (I do not
see any difference but the character.

Also, if you hold B and press down to also select the Nichibutsu mode. It is
basically just different tiles.

Puzzle Game Oh! (パズルゲーム Oh!)

General Gameplay

This game mode plays sort of like Tetris, but with mahjong tiles. The idea is
to get a mahjong by forming yaku across the bottom row of the playing area.
Tiles will fall into the area from above, one at a time, and you can place
them where you wish. A dragon is pulling the upcoming tiles to the left all
the while, and if the dragon reaches the woman on the left side of the screen
your game is over.

As the tiles fall, you can change the tile's suit, or quickly send it into
place directly below. If a row has no empty spaces remaining, the tiles in
that row will be automatically sorted to aid you in seeing what yaku you can
make to complete a mahjong. If pieces you don't need are falling, you can
stack them on top of existing tiles. Be careful though, since if you fill up
the entire playing area with tiles, the game will be over.

In addition to the regular mahjong tiles, there will be a special tile with
either a sword or a white pole on it (you can switch between those two by
pressing the button). The sword will break the tile it lands on, and the pole
(if placed in a sorted row) will let you know what pieces you are looking for
in order to complete the mahjong given your current setup.

If you complete a mahjong, the yaku types will be listed at the top of the
screen and you will be awarded points. At the top of the screen, you will see
a counter. This is the han counter, and it will decrement based on the types
of yaku you had in your mahjong. Once your score is tallied for that mahjong,
that completed row will disappear and gameplay will continue. When the han
counter reaches zero, the stage is complete and you will go on to the next
one. The value that the counter starts at depends on your difficulty setting.

A good resource for the various types of yaku and their han values (this game
displays the yaku name in Kanji), is the following:


Starting Menu:

When you begin a game in this mode, you will go to a menu screen where some
options can be set. Those settings are as follows:

Rank (ランク): This is the main difficulty setting. There are four levels to
               choose from:

    Elementary (初級): Han counter starts at 25.
    Intermediate (中級): Han counter starts at 30.
    Advanced (上級): Han counter starts at 35.
    Expert (名人): Han counter starts at 40.

In the different ranks, there may be more/less tiles already in the playing
field. This can be to your advantage or disadvantage, since in the earlier
stages, the tiles that are there are already in yaku.

Stage (ステージ): There are four stage levels you can choose from for each
                  Rank. This determines how quickly the tiles fall (in other
                  words, how much time you have to move it around).

You can also choose from two different control schemes: Type A (Aタイプ) and
Type B (Bタイプ). With Type A, you can change the tile's suit with A and send
it down immediately with Down. With Type B, it is the opposite.

Sound (サウンド): You can choose whether to have no sound (サイレント), Pop
                  (ポップス), Latin (ラテン), or China (チャイナ).

The 3rd option is a story mode. You have to beat these people in a certain
order to advance in the story and finally solve the mystery. You have to unlock
the second and third page by beating the guys in the first one, then once you
are done with a character s/he will be locked for good. This prevents you from
wasting time playing them over and over again even though there is nothing new
to gain. Certain story events could also prevent them from being around longer.

For the OL story (top option) you have to unlock the second page, then play the
guy and continue by beating the two girls. On the third page you can beat them
once to complete this part and finally you return to the first page. Beat the
lady on the left and then the guy on the right, leaving you with just one more
game at hand.

For the missing museum treasure case (lower option) you can only initially
question the cashier and the cleaner. The cashier will open up the guard on
the second page but he has nothing new to say. That is all for the cashier girl
already. Beating the cleaner guy will unlock the two scholars. Beat the first
one twice, then the second. Talk to the art dealer on the third page who
redirects to the curator who in turn points out the guard might know something.
The guard knows that the cleaner is to be checked out. The cleaner will point
you to the correct person as finale.

First you will need to learn the basics of how to play Mahjong - the board and
tiles themselves. This can be done online, they are almost always the same
descriptions. However, don't look into those Solitaire games (where you pick
pairs from the board) as they include extra tiles not used be the original
multiplayer game, such as the dragons and flowers.

Here is a short run-down of the tiles. Note that these have an order, from
either lower number or highest (and then back to 1) or the stated order of the
Honor tiles. There are 4 of each tile which makes for 136 in total.

Wan:  From 1 to 9, they representes 10,000s each.
Tong: From 1 to 9, they represent coins.
Suo:  From 1 to 9, the represent bamboo sticks. The first one is a bird
      instead, traditionally a sparrow but most tiles don't show that.

Winds: East - South - West - North; White - Green - Red.

The honor tiles are said to have 'value', which always includes the three
colors but only affects the wind directions according to the current round's
wind and your own seat's wind.

There are NO dragon pictures, NO flowers or any other fancy tiles in the game,
these are made up for variations and the solitaire game. If you hear the terms
dragon and flower used in the game then they will point to something else but
to avoid confusion let's just ignore this for now.

Next you have to get used to the board. It's just a table if you will, with
one players sitting at one side each. You must have four players to begin. Of
course in this game you only play against three computer opponents. There are
136 tiles and everyone gets 13. The rest is set up as a 'dead wall' where you
draw with each turn. By taking one extra tile you total is 14, which is the
amount required to finish your game. You only have this amount temporarily as
you will discard another one at the end of your turn (unless you win in that

Before we begin, here is the display the game has to offer. The top is the
opponent's character. You are at the bottom. The rows above each player will be
used for discared tiles as you will soon see. Each player starts with 25,000

You may have noticed one tile in the dead wall, three tiles from the left. This
is called a Joker, or 'dora'. It is used for different purposes in different
variations of the game. In the Japanese game, and this one, it is only useful
for getting an extra score. However, do note that this just an indicator as in
fact the NEXT one in line is the dora. You should know from the tile
explanation, if the number is 1 Wan then the dora is actually 2 Wan. If the
tile displays 9 wan then the dora is 1 wan and so on. For the honor tiles it
also follows this way, going from the order of wind to the last 'zhong' and
back to the winds. For example, a white tile would mean the dora is green. As I
have mentioned before, this is just for scoring so ignore it if you do not care
too much about that right now.

So now let's actually get started in playing. With a player's turn, he or she
takes a new tile from the dead wall. Your aim is to win the game by building
melds out of the 14 tiles you have when it is your turn. Melds include several
different forms:

Pon: Three of the same tile, such as three East or three 2 Wan.
(also called Pong in some variations)

Kan: Four of the same tile, such as four East and four 2 Wan. You can build a
     Kan out of the three you have made already. In that case you will get to
     draw an extra new tile as bonus.
(also called Kong in some variations)

Shang: Three suited tiles in sequence, such as 1 Wan, 2 Wan, 3 Wan.
(also called Chow in some variations)

Pair: Two of the same tile, such as two East or two 2 Wan.
(also called Jiang or Yan or Eye)

The game automatically sorts your hand for the correct order. When it is your
turn, the game will prompt you to draw a new tile. You have to draw it with the
'N' button. The newly drawn tile will be on the right side. If you decide to
keep the new tile it re-sorts the list afterwards. To finish your turn you must
discard one tile or declare you are the winner. Select the tile you want to
discard with the correct button on the controller. If you have all your tiles
making up for 4 melds and one Pair you have a winning hand and potentially are
the winner. But not so fast!

Some terminology you may see in the game:

 @@@@@@@               @@          @
     @@@  @@@@@@@@@     @@       @@
    @@@       @     @    @@    @@@
   @@@        @     @     @      @
  @@ @@      @@     @     @      @
 @@   @@    @@      @     @      @

@    @                   @@@@
@    @                @@@
@    @              @@   @
@    @                   @
    @     @@@@@@@@  @@@@@@@@@@
   @                     @
 @@                     @

Self-Win - Tsumo:
@  @   @  @@@@@@@@@
@  @   @      @
@  @   @  @@@@@@@@@
      @       @
     @        @
    @          @
@@@@            @@@

 @        @@@@   
@@@@@@@         @
 @    @        @@
 @    @       @@
 @    @      @@
 @    @     @@
@@   @@   @@@

@@@@@@@@@ @@@@
@       @       @
@       @      @@
@       @     @@
@       @    @@
@       @   @@
@@@@@@@@@ @@@

 @@  @
@@@@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@@

@  @   @      @   @
@  @   @  @@@@@@@@@ @
@  @   @      @
      @   @@@@@@@@@
     @        @
    @         @
@@@@          @

   @      @@@@
   @  @         @
@@@@@@@@       @@
   @          @@
@  @  @      @@
@  @  @     @@
@  @  @   @@@

Sometimes you are offered to take a tile another player has discarded. This is
when you can use this tile to build a meld. The other menu is when you have the
opportunity to steal a tile:

Kan: Build a kan with this tile.
Pon: Build a Pon with this tile.
Chi: Build a shang with this tile. (Chi is another name for Shang)
Riichi: Call Riichi and discard a tile. If you don't actually have any claim
        on this it will remove your bet. Read more about this soon.
Ron: Win by stealing with this tile.

If you decide to steal then it will be set aside on the right and shown to the
other players. Do note that this means you miss out on a 'self-win'. You will
know why in a second. For each steal the game asks which one you want to

In more details. One way to win is to wait until you need one more tile and
steal it from another player. In that case you do not declare a steal for a
meld, but for a win which is called 'Ron'. You still build a meld, but this is
for the last meld you need and therefore complete the entire hand.

Another way to win is the declare a 'riichi' with the 2nd last tile you
discard. You will bet 1000 and declare that you only need 1 more tile to win
the game. At this point you can no longer discard any previous tiles. You can
also see opponents betting on this quite often. The tile they throw away with
the bet will have a purple line underneath. The game will automatically draw
and discard the new tiles until you get one that wins the game as you are in a
'tenpai' state, which means "listening to tiles". You will then only need to
declare a 'self-win' aka 'tsumo' once you get this tile. You can only Riichi
when you have not declared any melds so far. Many players will try to retain
from declaring melds to keep their winning hand options open and obviously not
wanting to show other players their tiles.

Let's say you have set aside melds already. Then you cannot Riichi any longer.
As you work on your tiles, eventually you will also end up at only requiring
one just like when you would normally declare a Ron.  At this point you may use
Ron to steal the last tile to win the round if your hand allows it. See the
rules for more details.

The turns will continue until either one player wins, the game is declared a
draw or you run out of tiles on the dead wall. Next up read the strategies to
give you more on how to play better. To fully understand the hands you should
read the rules and then you might want to check out how the scoring works.

Additional Rules...:
(...you may want to know but only clutter the vital info.)

If everyone discards the same tile at their first turn, the game is a draw.
This happens more often than you think, as many throw away winds or other Honor

After someone has stolen a tile, the play begins at that player, not the last
person who discard the tile. This could mean skipping one or two turns for
those players but it should even out over the course of the game.

03.)                    STRATEGIES                                   G0300

What you will see is that most players throw away the Honor tiles unless they
already have two. You cannot steal to make a Pair, and these are very hard to
collect. Play one round and you will notice everyone dumping Wind, White, Red
and Green tiles all over the place. If somebody steals one to make a Pon or
even Kan, that's pretty good, just doesn't happen often enough to hang on
these. It is more feasible to collect suits.

For the suits, keep tiles that are close together. Let's say you have a 2, 4
and 8, dump the 8. It is very unlikely to turn into a meld. Similarly, if you
have the choice between throwing away 4 and 9, throw the 9. 9 is what is called
an edge tile as you can only use it for a Pon/Kan or a very unlikely Shang with
7 and 8.

Like counting cards, counting tiles is great too. If you keep track of what
others discard you will be able to calculate how many of one tile are still
available to be discarded or drawn from the dead wall.

14 tiles make for 7 pairs. This is a special method to win. You will most
likely attempt this if you start out with many pairs. It isn't as uncommon to
see and likely achieve at that point. Note that you cannot have four of a kind
and call them 2 pairs each, they must be unique.

If you have a sequence of 3, 5, 6, then do not bother keeping the 3 around.
5 and 6 have higher chances to complete the sequence and if you get 4, then 3
isn't necessary anyway.

Even with these basic strategies you should be winning rounds. However, to
really be good at the game you must learn the rules of how the hands are being

04.)                    RULES                                        G0400

These are not the game rules, but what kind of hands can be made to win the
round. As the game ends the scoring screen will show the score multipliers
called 'fan' the winner has achieved. These are the most commonly used rule
sets in Riichi-Mahjong:

Name: Name of the hand, either closely or loosely translated. 
Fan: How many extra multiplier are added for this hand.
O/C: Open (steals are allowed) or Closed (no steals allowed or possible)
Description: Details about the hand, any specific rules or variations.

| Name:        | Fan | O/C | Description:                                     |
| Riichi       |  1  |  C  | When you only require one more tile after        |
| 立直         |     |     | discarding the next one, you are ready to wait   |
|              |     |     | for the win. Until then you cannot do anything   |
|              |     |     | but discard the new tile unless a kan possible   |
|              |     |     | that doesn't change your required tile.          |
| Win 1 round  |  1  |  C  | Once you declar Riichi, win at the next turn     |
| after Riichi |     |     | without anyone creating melds.                   |
| 一発         |     |     |                                                  |
| Strong       |  1  |  C  | Win without stealing nor opening your hand.      |
| Self-Win     |     |     |                                                  |
| 門前自摸     |     |     |                                                  |
| Simple Melds |  1  |  O  | Only using suit tiles from 2 to 8, thus no 1s,   |
| 断ヤオ九     |     |     | 9s or Honor tiles.                               |
| Peace        |  1  |  C  | 4 Shang and one pair that does not have value.   |
| 平和         |     |     |                                                  |
| Double Shang |  1  |  C  | 2 Shang that are identical, e.g. 2, 3, 4 Wan     |
| 一盃口       |     |     | twice.                                           |
| Last Draw    |  1  |  O  | Win on the final draw.                           |
| 海底摸月     |     |     |                                                  |
| Last Discard |  1  |  O  | Win on the final discard.                        |
| 河底撈魚     |     |     |                                                  |
| Kan-Win      |  1  |  O  | Win by creating a Kan by stealing the tile.      |
| 槍槓         |     |     |                                                  |
| Kan-Bonus-Win|  1  |  O  | Win with the tile you receive after creating a   |
|  嶺上開花    |     |     | Kan.                                             |
| 3-Color Shang|  1  |  O  | 3 Shang that are identical in three different    |
| 三色同順     |  2  |  C  | suits.                                           |
| Straight     |  1  |  O  | 3 Shang using 1 suit from 1 to 9, i.e. 1->3,     |
| 一気通かん   |  2  |  C  | 4->6, 7->9.                                      |
| Mixed Edge   |  1  |  O  | Each meld has either a 1, 9 or Honor tile.       |
| 全帯         |  2  |  C  |                                                  |
| Terminals    |  1  |  O  | Melds consisting of Pons, Kans and a Pair where  |
| 混老頭       |  2  |  C  | each one is either 1s, 9s or Honor tiles.        | 
| Double Riichi|  2  |  C  | Declare Riichi with your first turn. No-one else |
| ダブルリーチ |     |     | must have stolen so far.                         |
| 7 Pairs      |  2  |  C  | 14 tiles make for 7 pairs. You cannot steal for  |
| 七対子       |     |     | obvious reasons.                                 |
| All Melds    |  2  |  O  | Only melds and a pair.                           |
| 対々和       |     |     |                                                  |
| Three Melds  |  2  | O/C | 3 melds that aren't open (stolen), the rest of   |
| 三暗刻       |     |     | the hand may be stolen, eg the 4th meld.         |
| Three Same-  |  2  |  O  | Three meld that each contain at least one of the |
| Number Melds |     |     | same number.                                     |
| 三色同刻     |     |     |                                                  |
| 3 Kan        |  2  |  O  | 3 Kans declared.                                 |
| 三槓子       |     |     |                                                  |
| 3 Little Elem|  2  |  O  | 2 Pons and and 1 Pair of Honor tiles.            |
| ?ャ三元       |     |     |                                                  |
| Mixed Flush  |  2  |  O  | Only one style suit and honor tiles are used.    |
| 混一色       |  3  |  C  |                                                  |
| Pure Edge    |  2  |  O  | Each meld has either a 1 or 9 tile.              |
| 純全帯ヤオ九 |  3  |  C  |                                                  |
| Double 2     |  3  |  C  | 2 times two Shang that are identical, e.g. 2, 3, |
| Shang        |     |     | 4 Wan twice and 6, 7 8 Wan twice.                |
| 二盃口       |     |     |                                                  |
| Pure Flush   |  5  |  O  | Only one style suit.                             |
| 清一色       |  6  |  C  |                                                  |
| Dora         | +1  |  O  | The dora indicator is on the dead wall. For any  |
| ドラ         |     |     | tile you have you get +1. There are extra dora   |
| カンドラ     |     |     | tiles as you make Kans and when you win with a   |
| 裏ドラ・カン裏ドラ |     | Riichi.                                          |
| Honor Meld   | +1  |  O  | A set of Honor tiles such as three White, Red or |
|              |     |     | Green, the current round's wind or the player's  |
|              |     |     | own wind direction. +1 for each meld.            |

There are more special hands that may not be included in the game. Not every
game will uses all of these. Think of this as super-advanced class if you
really want to know these rules:

4 Triples:              C    Four Pons and a Pair.

Pairless Country:       C    A 1 and 9 of each suit, each one of the Honor tile
?綜m無双                     and then one extra tile to make a Pair.

3 Large Elements:       O    A meld of White, Green and Red.

Large/Small Wind:       O    A meld of each wind, one may be a Pair only.

All Green:              O    Using Suo (Bamboo) 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and Green Honor
緑一?F                       tile. May REQUIRE using the Green Honor tile even.

All Honor:              O    Using only Honor tiles.

Nine Treasures:         C    One suit with 1112345678999 and one extra tile for
九蓮宝燈                     making a Pair.

Pure Edge:              O    Only 1s and 9s.

4 Kans:                 O    Four Kans declared.

Heaven Win:             C    The dealer instantly has a winning hand.

Earth Win:              C    The non-dealer has an instant winning hand at the
地和                         first turn without anyone stealing before it.

05.)                    SCORING                                      G0500

There is a complex way to calculate the final score. Luckily the game does
everything for you, but if you are still interested then read the next section
in great detail.

First, a tally value is calculated based on the composition of the hand and how
the hand was won. This number will be an integer between 20 and 70.

To get the tally, take 20 as base. Add 10 points if won by a steal, or 2 points
if drawn.
Additional points are awarded for pairs. 2 for each value Honor tile and 4 if
the wind is both round and player's. For each Pon, 8 points if closed end, 4 if
open end or closed middle and 2 if open middle. For a Kan, 32 points if closed
at the end, 16 open end or closed middle and 8 for open middle.
Finally, there are 2 points for the tile you were waiting if it was in the
middle of a Shang, on the side of a Shang if there was only one way to complete
it (Edge, like 1, 2 and waiting for 3) and third if it completed a Pon.

Two exceptions to this case is '7 Pairs' which automatically results in 25 as
tally. 'Pinfu' gives a tally of 30 if won on a steal, and 20 if self-drawn.

The multipliers can be seen in the previous section. Each one adds a certain
amount of points to the sub-total. You get 2 extra as base amount which sums up
to the total multiplier.

Final Score:
Take the base number and round it up to the nearest multiple of 10 unless the
hand was a '7 Pairs'. Multiple this number by 2^Multiplier for a sub-total. It
cannot be higher than 2000 points or else it is reduced to said amount. That
is the limit in the game to avoid huge scores in single games.

If the win was self-drawn, each loser has to pay that sub-total. Else, multiply
the sub-total by 6 if the dealer won, multiply it by 4 if a non-dealer won. As
the win was won on a steal, only the person discarding the winning tile has to
pay this larger amount.

There are several ways to draw the game:
- No more tiles are left to draw.
- All players discard the same wind tile in the first round.
- There are four Kans declared in total. You may complete with a 4-Kan hand.
- All four players have declared Riichi.
- Three players are waiting for the same tile to be discarded.
- A player has 9 different tiles of 1s 9s and Honor. That player may choose to
  declare a draw.

If the game ends after all tiles have been drawn, each player's cards are
opened. Players only needing one tile to win will receive money from the
others. In case of just one player he gets 1,000 from all the others. If there
are two ready players, the other two have to pay 1,500 to each of the two read
players. If there are three ready players, the only one left must pay 1,000 to
each player.

YY.)                    LINKS                                        GYY00

A few sites that helped me find information regarding the game's mechanics,
rules and other things I needed to confirm.

WikiPedia's Mahjong Article:

Japanese Mahjong Scoring:

Mah Jong - Modern Japanese Rules:

Reach-Mahjong Rules:

ZZ.)                    CREDITS & THANKS                             GZZ00

This guide was derived from odino's '4 Nin Uchi Mahjong' guide with permission.

GameFAQs for hosting this file.

Nihon Bussan for the game.

Devin Morgan for the puzzle mode addition!

All those websites listed in the previous section, I'm sure I used them all
to find something or another. To either learn about the game or just to confirm
a rule.

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
respective trademark and copyright holders.

This guide may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for
personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise
distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on
any other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited,
and a violation of copyright.        ,,,
                                    (o o)