******************************************************************************* MAHJONG QUEST EXPEDITIONS Full Game Guide by FemmeFromMars Version 1.0 "Flowers" 7/10/08 Version 1.1 "Winds" 8/21/08 Added times for the Puzzle World layouts and made a few minor corrections. Version 1.2 "Dragons" 11/04/08 Added times for all remaining puzzles. Added scoring section. ******************************************************************************* I. INTRODUCTION [MJQ01] II. HOW TO PLAY [MJQ02] III. THE CONTROLS [MJQ03] IV. MAIN MENU [MJQ04] V. THE TILES A. Standard tiles [MJQ05] B. Power tiles [MJQ06] C. Game-winning tiles [MJQ07] VI. THE WORLDS A. ADVENTURE - KWAZI'S QUEST -- Overview [MJQ08] -- Game display and menu, bottom screen [MJQ09] -- Game display and menu, top screen [MJQ10] -- The levels [MJQ11] B. CLASSICS -- Overview [MJQ12] -- The Modes [MJQ13] -- Game display and menu, bottom screen [MJQ14] -- Game display and menu, top screen [MJQ15} -- The Layouts [MJQ16] --Classic --Easy --Fun --Hard Challenges C. PUZZLES -- Overview [MJQ17} -- The Modes -- Game display and menu -- The Layouts [MJQ18] --Puzzle Group 1 --Puzzle Group 2 --Good Challenges --Unique Puzzles VII. SCORING [MJQ19] VIII. STRATEGY TIPS [MJQ20] IX. LEGAL STUFF, ETC. [MJQ21] ************************ I. INTRODUCTION [MJQ01] ************************ Welcome to Mah Jong Quest Expeditions! I've always found mah jong solitaire to be fun and addictive, and this game, with its power tiles and adventure quest, seemed like it would be a lot of fun. I was not disappointed. However, when I would put the game down for a few days, I found that when I came back, I couldn't always remember what the power tiles were supposed to do, and there wasn't any place I could check in the game or manual to refresh my memory about which tiles were which or exactly how to use them. So I decided to write a tile guide. But then it seemed there was other information that might be helpful to gamers, and it wouldn't be too much trouble to include it, and after awhile it just seemed sensible to write a complete guide to the game. One thing that I do not include is step-by-step solutions to the puzzles. There are several reasons for this. First, many, if not all, of the puzzles have more than one possible deal. Second, all puzzles have more than one possible path, except possibly some of the Puzzle World puzzles. Third, it would be just too complicated to describe! And finally, there are some situations where it is just impossible, as in the Gong Master layouts - also to be explained later. I hope you enjoy the game as much as I have, and that this guide is helpful to you! ************************ II. HOW TO PLAY [MJQ02] ************************ Mah jong solitaire is a matching game. Tiles are laid out on a board in various configurations and your job is to get rid of them. You do this by matching identical tiles, or by matching any flower to any other flower tile, or any season to any other season tile. Simple enough. What gives the game its challenge is that most of the tiles are hidden or unavailable. To be selected, the top face and one of the vertical sides of a tile must be open. Strategy is required so your moves uncover new tiles to ensure tiles are available for matching. To pick a pair of matching tiles, tap them with your stylus and they will be discarded. In traditional mah jong solitaire and also in this game's Classic World, the object is to clear the board. In the Adventure and Puzzle worlds, there are some variations. In particular, power tiles are added to the mix. Power tiles and how they work will be described later. In Adventure, the object of each layout is not to clear the board, but to match the yin and yang game-winning tiles, which will also be described. In some cases, matches will require choosing three tiles of a kind, rather than two. The mechanics of making the matches remain the same, however; use your stylus to tap the tiles you want to match, and they will be removed. *************************** III. THE CONTROLS [MJQ03] *************************** Controls in Mah Jong Quest Expeditions couldn't be much easier. You can use the stylus and touch screen to do anything, as long as you know which icon to tap. If you lose your stylus or prefer to do things the old-fashioned way, everything can be done by using the D-pad, A, shoulder buttons, start, and X. Just hit the D-pad and a cursor will appear. (For some reason, sometimes you need to press the A button instead of the D-pad to get it started.) It's a colored arrow (green or yellow depending on where it is) and easy to see. Move the cursor around with the D pad until you get to the tile you want, then select with A. When you've chosen two (or three) acceptable tiles, they will automatically be removed. The cursor can also be used on the menu. The left and right shoulder buttons can be used to "flip" the gameboard so that obscured tiles can be more easily viewed. The left shoulder button flips the board top to bottom, and the right shoulder button flips it left to right. This action can also be accomplished by tapping the left-right or up-down arrow icons at the bottom of the game screen, either with your stylus or by using the cursor. The start button will take you into the pause menu, although for some reason it will not get you out again. To close the menu, tap the X icon, either with your stylus or with the cursor. The X button will show you available matches on the gameboard, but only when you are down to one or two possible matches. This can also be accomplished by tapping the sun icon in the lower right corner of the screen, either with your stylus or the cursor. There does not seem to be any use for the B or Y buttons. *********************** IV. MAIN MENU [MJQ04] *********************** Since the menus are primarily icon-based, they can be a little tricky to navigate, particularly since some of the icons are not all that obvious. Who knew that a pyramid could mean Restart the Level? The main menu is the opening menu under the title screen. It welcomes you and gives you a choice of three puzzle worlds to play. Along the bottom of the menu screen are four icons. From left to right, they are: Person wearing a hat - This allows you to choose which file you want to play, and also to delete a file. To choose a file, highlight it and tap the check mark. To delete a file, highlight it and tap the trash can. You will be asked to confirm. To start a new file, highlight "add new player" and tap the check mark. You'll be asked to enter your name to start a file. The game card can handle three files. Use the stylus to tap the letters or numbers on the keyboard on the lower screen. Your name can be up to 10 characters or spaces long. If you make a mistake, press the trash can icon to backspace. Press the check mark icon when you're finished. The X gets you back to the list of files. Press X again to get back to the opening screen. Continuing along the row of icons in the main menu, you'll see a hammer and chisel. This allows you to set the relative volume of music and sound effects. You can also watch the credits. The ? icon opens up a brief description of the three gameplay "worlds": Kwazi's Qwest (Adventure), Classic Mah Jong, and Mah Jong Puzzles. The comedy and tragedy mask icon allows you to view "movies." These are the cutscenes that open, close, and mark the stages of Kwazi's Qwest. You can view each scene as soon as you have seen it in the Kwazi's Qwest game. World and game menus will be described as we come to them. ********************** V. THE TILES ********************** A. STANDARD TILES [MJQ05] Standard tiles are the tiles that appear in a real-life mah jong set. In real life, they have the solid form of dominoes but work something like playing cards. All boards in Mah Jong Quest Expeditions make use of standard tiles. Not every board will use as many tiles as I describe, and some will use more than a standard set, but these are the types of tiles you will see. Although real mah jong tiles tend to be rectangular, the ones in this game are almost square. -- Suits Most tiles in a mah jong set belong to one of three suits: Bamboos, Characters, and Coins or Dots. Each suit has 36 tiles: four each of numbers 1 through 9. They are easy to tell apart: Bamboo tiles are decorated with what looks like gold bamboo pieces; Characters are decorated with Chinese calligraphy characters, and Coins have round dots on them corresponding to the value of the tile. To make things easy, each tile also has a standard Arabic numeral with its value. In many mah jong sets, the Ace of Bamboo is depicted as a bird, and I think it's a bird in this set too. However, unless you're looking at it under a magnifying glass, it looks more like a bowl of rice. You must match these tiles exactly: for example, 4 of Bamboo to 4 of Bamboo. -- Honors and Specials The Four Winds -- These are hard to describe, except to say they each have a calligraphy character on them, along with a small Roman letter indicating which wind they are (north, south, east west). A standard set has four of each, and you must match them exactly. Dragons -- Dragons come in three colors: red, green and white, which in this set looks blue. Happily for us, in this set the dragons really do look like dragons, and not like the calligraphy characters that depict them in many sets. There are four of each color, and you must match them exactly. Flowers -- There are four flower tiles - not four kinds, but four total. Each can be matched with any of the others. They're not all flowers exactly: one is a bamboo shoot and another looks like a purple plum. The other two are, I would guess, a purple chrysanthemum and a pinky-peach-colored cherry blossom. Seasons -- These work like the flower tiles, except they depict the seasons. There are four total. Spring has a pink flower in the center. Summer looks like a sun, and Autumn is a leaf. Winter is a white snowflake on a blue background. Each can be matched with any of the others. B. POWER TILES [MJQ06] These are the tiles that set Mah Jong Quest Expeditions apart from other mah jong solitaire games. They are used in Kwazi's Qwest and also in the Puzzles section. Power tiles are dealt out as part of the layout. I'm listing them in the order in which they appear in Kwazi's Qwest. 1. Balloon First appearance - Level 2, Balloon Party. "Balloons will rise by themselves when uncovered." To put one of these into play, just expose the top of it; the sides don't matter. The balloon will rise up and float away out of the layout, usually exposing the side of a standard tile that might have been unplayable otherwise. 2. Firecracker and Wall First appearance - Level 3, Eve of Destruction. The walls actually appear first in Level 1, but there's nothing you can do with them. "Match a firecracker with its corresponding wall to blast it away." Like dragons, firecrackers come in three colors: red, green and blue. Reds must be matched with a brownish tile inscribed with a circle; it's apparently supposed to be a brick. Greens must be matched with a sort of gold-colored bamboo wall tile, and blues are matched with a grayish stone tile. The firecrackers must be normally selectable with at least one side exposed, but the walls need only to have the top face exposed. As when the balloon tiles rise, blasting away a wall tile can make standard tiles playable. Occasionally walls appear without firecrackers to blast them away. There aren't necessarily enough firecrackers to blast all the walls, so use your explosives wisely! 3. Ice Cube First appearance - Level 4, Frozen Reservoir. "Ice cubes melt when too many sides are exposed." For an ice cube to melt, the top face and at least one vertical side must be exposed. They're fun because getting one tile to melt can set off a chain reaction where a whole sheet of ice can evaporate into nothingness, exposing lots of tiles to play. 4. Earthquake First appearance - Level 5, Earthquakes and Balloons "Earthquakes divide..." Earthquake tiles at first glance look like a torch on a two-tone green background. Look more closely and you'll see it's a flame coming out of some sundered earth. Cool! To use, match two selectable earthquake tiles. The entire board will split along a fault line, greatly increasing your number of selectable tiles. In my opinion this is probably the coolest tile effect of the game! 5. Magnet First appearance - Level 10, Wise Choices "Match a magnet with any visible tile to free up additional tiles." This looks like your classic Acme red horseshoe magnet on a green background. To use, tap a magnet tile and then a standard mah jong tile. The magnet will pull the standard tile to where the magnet tile was, and the magnet tile will be discarded. The magnet tile must be selectable, but the tile you match with it can be blocked by other tiles. 6. Typhoon First appearance - Level 11, Return to Thunderdome "Match a typhoon with another tile to remove all occurrences of that tile." These look like white aerial views of hurricanes on a blue background. To use, tap a typhoon tile and then a standard tile. Both the typhoon and the standard tile must be selectable, but every tile identical to the selected standard tile will be removed from the layout, whether they're selectable or not. 7. Up Arrow First appearance - Level 15, Triple Trouble No explanation! This is a white arrow, pointing up, on a blue background. Tap the arrow tile, then a numbered suit tile. All copies of that tile still on the board will go up one number in that suit. For example, all the 2's of Bamboo will become 3's of Bamboo. This has no effect on honors or special tiles, or on 9's, for that matter. 8. Swap First appearance - Level 16, Swaptastic "Match a swap with two other tiles to switch them." Swap tiles are blue, with a couple of blank tiles pictured in the center. Above and below the picture of the blank tiles are two yellow arrows pointing different directions. When you touch a swap tile, the two blank tiles exchange places and make a shuffling noise. To use, tap the swap tile, then tap two other tiles you would like to have change places. The swap tile will be discarded. Although the swap tile must be selectable, neither of the standard tiles needs to be. 9. Copy First appearance - Level 17, Balanced Brotherhood "Match the copy tile with two other tiles to make them identical." Copy tiles have a turned-down top left edge, as though you're pulling a white sticker cover off a pale green base. I'm not sure what this has to do with copying, but oh well. To use, tap the copy tile. Then tap the tile that you want more copies of. Then tap a tile to be made into a copy of the first tile. All instances of the second tile will become identical to the first. For example, if you tap a copy tile, then a four of Coins, then a three of Bamboo, all tiles in the layout that are three of Bamboo will turn into four of Coins. The copy tile is then discarded. The copy tile and both standard tiles that you tap must all be selectable. 10. Down Arrow First appearance - Level 18, Balloon Magic "Up, down, and magic wand tiles act only on numbered tiles..." Down arrow tiles look just like the up arrow tiles we met on Level 15, except the white arrow is pointing down (duh). And you probably can guess that they work the same way. Tap the down arrow tile and any suit tile except a 1, and the value of all instances of that suit tile in the layout will go down by one. For example, if you tap a 6 of Characters, all 6 of Characters tiles in the layout will become 5 of Characters, and the down arrow tile will be discarded. There is no effect on honors or special tiles, or on 1's. Both the down arrow tile and the standard tile must be selectable. 11. Magic Wand First appearance - Level 18, Balloon Magic "... Magic wand makes all tiles of the same number adopt the suit of the selected tile." These are blue with a little picture of a magic wand on them. The magic wand even has a star on the end - how cute! To use, tap the magic wand tile, then tap a selectable number tile. All tiles with that number in the layout, regardless of suit, will become identical to the tile you selected. For example, tap a magic wand tile and a 5 of Coins, and all 5's of Bamboo and Characters in the layout will become 5 of Coins. The magic wand tile will then be discarded. Both the magic wand tile and the standard tile must be selectable. 12. Cover First appearance - Level 20, Lots of Help "Covers hide tiles until they are selectable." Talk about a mixed blessing! On the one hand, cover tiles, by hiding any tile that is not selectable, make it easier for you to find matches quickly. On the other hand, because you can't see what's under the covers, it becomes harder to plan your strategy for digging out tiles you might need for matching. You do get a hint, though. Cover tiles are rather pretty and give the board the appearance of a patchwork quilt. They have a blue background and an icon on the front that gives a clue to what's underneath, as follows: - A red calligraphy character means a Character tile is underneath. - A yellow equal sign means a Bamboo tile is underneath. (I suspect this is really supposed to look like two pieces of bamboo laid out one over the other, but it looks like an equal sign to me.) - A blue wheel-shaped icon means a Coin tile is underneath. - A yellow star means anything else could be under there: wind, dragon, flower, season, or another kind of power tile. To use covers, you don't do anything. The covers will disappear when the tile becomes selectable. 13. Bounce First appearance - Level 26, Friendly Helpers "Bouncing help lets you find matches more quickly." These have a red dot in the upper left corner of a pale yellow tile. It's a little hard to figure out what it's supposed to represent, until you tap it. The red dot is an animated bouncy ball and it bounces back and forth! To use, you must have two selectable bounce tiles. Tap both of them and they will be discarded. Then tap a tile for which you want a match - probably something that is in a crucial position. All selectable matches for that tile will pop out of the layout. If there are no matches for that tile, you can try to match another tile. You can keep trying until you make a selection. 14. Hourglass First appearance - Level 34, Trying Times "The Zhong hourglasses will buy you some extra time." These are green tiles with an hourglass on them. When you tap a selectable pair of them, they refill your time bar a little bit. C. GAME-WINNING TILES [MJQ07] These special tiles appear in Kwazi's Qwest and in Puzzles, and are another feature that sets them apart from classic mah jong solitaire. In classic puzzles, the object is to clear the board by matching all tiles. In Kwazi's Qwest and some of the Puzzles, the object is to clear the board only until you make the game-winning tiles selectable, when you can match them to each other. This may cause you to adopt a different strategy, especially in Kwazi's Qwest, aiming for the spots where you think the game-winning tiles are buried. The game-winning tiles are always dealt last in a quest layout, and you can see the approximate area where they are buried. The game-winning tiles are supposed to look like the straw hats of girl Kwazi and boy Kwazi, or like two halves of the yin-yang symbol. To me they look like a couple of fish, one black and one white, facing each other. In any case, the background of the tiles is bright yellow, so there's no mistaking them. In layouts where you must match three tiles, a yin-yang symbol tile is added and must be matched to the other two. ***************** VI. THE WORLDS ***************** What to call the three types of gameplay you encounter in Mah Jong Quest Expeditions? I would call them Modes, but that designation has already been co-opted by the developers for something else we'll see in sections B and C. So I am going to call them worlds. There are three of them: Kwazi's Qwest, the adventure world and heart of the game; the Classic World; and the Puzzle World. A. ADVENTURE: KWAZI'S QWEST (puzzles 1-64) -- Overview [MJQ08] "Too many arguments and too many wars Nature grew sick of the endless disputes And so everything that was or will be Has split into clean absolutes." So begins our story, along with a simple animation. As far as we are concerned, "everything that was or will be" is limited to a young man named Kwazi, who, after Nature got fed up, is not only a young man but also a young woman. It is your job to reconcile the two sides of his personality and bring him/her back together again. For some reason you are able to do this by solving mah jong puzzles - 64 of them. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me either. To play Kwazi's Qwest, tap the big circle, containing two hats, right in the center of your opening screen. If you're having trouble finding it, it's the one with "Kwazi's Qwest" written right above it. As your game begins, you'll see the opening sequence described above. You'll get a similar sequence moving the plot along every time you solve eight layouts. Once you've seen a movie, it will be available to view by pressing the comedy/tragedy mask icon in the lower right corner of the opening screen. -- Game Display and Menu: Bottom Screen [MJQ09] The solitaire layout is on the bottom screen of your DS. There is also a row of menu icons at the bottom of the screen. You select them by tapping with your stylus or highlighting them with a cursor. From left to right, they are: Sun/Lightbulb - Will show you available matches, but only when you get down to two available matches. Reverse arrow - Will step you back through your previous moves. It will step you back to the beginning of the puzzle if you want. Horizontal arrows - Will flip the puzzle left to right along a vertical axis. This can also be done by pressing the right shoulder button. Vertical arrows - Will flip the puzzle top to bottom along a horizontal axis. This can also be done by pressing the left shoulder button. Circular arrows - Will restart the layout, after asking for confirmation. Book - Opens up a pause menu, which begins with four choices: --Hammer and chisel (top left) - This is your options screen, which lets you set the relative volume of the music and sound effects. No matter whether you press the check mark or the X after changing your settings, the game will do the same thing: accept the changes, close the screen and send you back to the game. --Gate (bottom left) - Returns you to the main menu, after asking for confirmation and warning you that your progress will be saved up to the last completed puzzle. Translated: you will lose all progress on this uncompleted puzzle. --Question mark (top right) - Oh! It's a tutorial! Not a very detailed one, but it's helpful. There are five pages; the second, "Thematic Matches," shows your season tiles on the top row and flower tiles on the second row. It looks like I guessed right in identifying the seasons earlier. --X (lower right) - Closes the menu and returns you to the game at the point where you left off. After you successfully beat Kwazi's Qwest, a fifth menu option opens up: --Pyramid of tiles (center top, above the others) - This is a puzzle selection screen that allows you to play any of the quest puzzles. Your best score and time for each will be displayed as you move through the choices. Unfortunately, from the first puzzle, you can move only one way, so if you want to play the last puzzle, you must step through the first 63. -- Game Display and Menu: Top Screen [MJQ10] The top screen contains a nice background picture and information about the layout you are playing, as follows: --Tiles (top row, left) - At the start, shows the number of tiles in the layout. Counts down as you make matches. --Lives (top row, center) - Shows the number of lives you have. Yes, this is an adventure game, so you have lives. You start with four and gain lives as you complete puzzles successfully, lose them if you run out of time before completing a puzzle. It's not really a big deal, however, as running out of lives will merely reset your total score to 0. You don't get a Game Over screen or have to go back to the beginning or anything; you can just start over again on the same puzzle. Unfortunately you can't go back and build up lives by redoing puzzles you've already completed. After you complete the entire quest once, your lives re-set to 0. --Matches (top row, right) - Shows the number of available matches you can currently make. --Time bar (just below the top information row) - The puzzles are on a timer and the time bar shrinks as you play. When it gets to the end, a gong sounds and you're out of time. Your time varies according to puzzle, and the exact time you have left is not displayed on the bar. Time does not start counting down until you make your first move, so take your time to study the board before you start. Available times posted in this FAQ were calculated by me and my Seiko, and should be considered approximate. Not all times are listed in version 1.0, but I will add the rest in future versions. --Puzzle name - Displayed on an illustration that fills the center of the page. --Total score (bottom row, left) - Shows your cumulative score from all completed quest puzzles so far. Resets to 0 after completing all layouts. --Last match made (bottom row, center) - Shows the last match you removed from the board. --Score - Shows the score for the current game. The Levels [MJQ11] 1. Two Houses: Loud/Quiet Number of tiles: 105 Time: 10 minutes 30 seconds (All times are approximate, but should be accurate to within 5 seconds.) Special tiles: There are some wall tiles stuck in there for decoration, but no firecracker tiles, so you can't blow them up. They really do nothing. This is your basic tutorial level. I challenge you to lose it - I don't think you can! For this level only, all available matches are highlighted, but unavailable tiles are still visible. Also, for this level only, you can hit the sun icon at the lower left of the screen and it will show you exactly where the matches are. For all other puzzles, you can use this button only when your matches get down to 1 or 2. 2. Balloon Party: Decisive/Thoughtful Number of tiles: 198 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Balloon The balloon tiles will float up as you uncover them, exposing more playable tiles. 3. Eve of Destruction: Old/Young Number of tiles: 98 Time: 9m 55s Power tiles: Red, green and blue firecracker, and red, green and blue wall Red firecrackers must be matched to the reddish-tan bricks, green firecrackers to the bamboo tiles, and blue firecrackers to the blue stone tiles. The firecrackers will blow up the walls and expose more tiles. 4. Frozen Reservoir: Driven/Patient Number of tiles: 176 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Ice cube This looks like two ovals of staggered tiles, with maximum dimensions of 11 x 5. Melt the ice cubes by uncovering the top and one side of each. 5. Earthquakes and Balloons: Cuddly/Coarse Number of tiles: 158 Time: 19m 30s Power tiles: Earthquake, balloon Split the board into three or four parts, depending on how you match the earthquake tiles. 6. Shake, Rattle and Roll: Cautious/Brave Number of tiles: 146 Time: 20 minutes Power tiles: none Instead of special tiles, this board features the Gong Monster. As soon as you make your first match, Gong Monster starts walking back and forth between two gongs. It takes him about 12 seconds to get from one gong to the other. If he sounds a gong before you have made a match, the remaining tiles on the board reshuffle. If you make a match before he gets to a gong, he turns around and heads the other way and you get a little more time with that shuffle. There doesn't seem to be any point penalty for having the gong sounded, and it's kind of fun having things mixed up. 7. Two on the Beam: Love/Hate Number of tiles: 177 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Ice cube, balloon Hunt for matches for your tall stacks and long horizontal rows first, or you could get trapped in there. 8. Tri Tri Again: Small/Large Number of tiles: 147 Time: 20 minutes Power tiles: none In this game, instead of matching pairs of tiles, you must match three of a kind. To win the game, match the two hat tiles with the yin-yang symbol tile. 9. Funny Balloons: Creative/Grounded Number of tiles: 18 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Balloon I'm not sure what's so funny about these balloons, other than they seem to rise up unexpectedly out of the grid. 10. Wise Choices: Shy/Bold Number of tiles 159 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Magnet I found this layout pretty easy. You might not even need to use your magnets, at least not more than one or two of them. 11. Return to Thunderdome: War/Peace Number of tiles: 159 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Typhoon This layout looks like a top view of a jet fighter, sort of. It's a little difficult, with both deep stacks and long rows. 12. Demolition Time: Fast/Slow Number of tiles: 167 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Firecracker & wall There are fewer firecrackers than there are walls, so use them judiciously. 13. Water Balloons: Formal/Casual Number of tiles: 186 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Balloon, ice cube Work your way in from the edges or you'll get stuck. 14. Bricked Eagle Revisited: Poor/Rich Number of tiles: 182 Time: 20m 40s Power tiles: Magnet, typhoon, ice cube, firecracker & wall Why do we have a Bricked Eagle Revisited when we haven't had a Bricked Eagle? I don't know. 15. Triple Trouble: Glamour/Ugliness Number of tiles: 150 Time: 20m Power tiles: Up arrow This layout is shaped like three number 3s. It's another where you must match three of a kind. 16. Swaptastic: Talkative/Quiet Number of tiles: 156 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Swap Shaped like a wheel; don't let yourself get trapped under the axle stack. 17. Balanced Brotherhood: Dishonest/Blunt Number of tiles: 152 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Copy, swap A 14 x 6 rectangle with a deep wave in the middle. 18. Balloon Magic: Lead/Follow Number of tiles: 180 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Up arrow, down arrow, magic wand, balloon 19. Courtyard Demolition: Reactive/Stable Number of tiles: 170 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Magnet, typhoon, firecracker & wall 20. Lots of Help: Clear/Confusing Number of tiles: 160 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: Cover, up arrow, down arrow, magic wand, copy, magnet, hurricane, swap 21. Classic with Help: Imaginative/Practical Number of tiles: 158 Time: 20m 15s Power tiles: Firecracker & wall This is probably the most common layout for traditional mah jong solitaire, with the addition of firecrackers & walls, and of course the game-winning tiles. 22. Going, Going, Gong!!!: Trusting/Vigilant Number of tiles: 146 Time: 20m Power tiles: none Another visit from the Gong Master. 23. Lots of Surprises: Polite/Outspoken Number of tiles: 178 Time: 20m 10s Power tiles: ice cube, balloon, copy, swap, up arrow, down arrow, magic wand 24. Through the Looking Glass: Private/Forthright Number of tiles: 155 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: magnet, swap, copy, typhoon This layout really forces you to use the menu icons or shoulder buttons to flip the layout, both right to left and top to bottom. Because of the deep stacks, after making a few matches, you will need to flip the layout to see what tiles are available. 25. Classic Covers: Concrete/Abstract Number of tiles: 344 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: ice cube, balloon The most fun opening move of the game. 26. Friendly Helpers: Sloppy/Perfect Number of tiles: 162 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: bounce Bounce tiles help lets you find matches more quickly, but don't wait until you've run out of matches to use them. 27. Melting My Life Away: Naive/Cynical Number of tiles: 190 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: ice cube Attack the ice floe from both sides. 28. Frozen Fountain: Earth/Heaven Number of tiles: 180 Time: 21m Power tiles: ice cube 29. Mess of Trouble: Heavy/Light Number of tiles: 175 Time: 19m 55s Power tiles: ice cube, typhoon, copy, balloon 30. Ice Cube Test: Submissive/Dominant Number of tiles: 196 Time: 19m 40s Power tiles: ice cube 31. Calm Before the Storm: Masculine/Feminine Number of tiles: 148 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: none Another variation on the traditional layout. 32. Full Houses: Tall/Short Number of tiles: 211 Time: 20m 45s Power tiles: wall only (no firecracker) 33. 2nd Half Fun: Low/High Number of tiles: 168 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: ice cube, firecracker & wall You're halfway done! The board layout announces its name. 34. Trying Times: Inside/Outside Number of tiles: 164 Time: 5:30 before hourglass tiles are used. Add approximately 2 minutes for every pair of hourglasses matched. Power tiles: hourglass Is it just me, or does the timer count down faster in this one? Try to match the hourglass tiles to gain extra time. 35. Typhoons of Doom: Indifferent/Sensitive Number of tiles: 159 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: typhoon, balloon 36. Ice Breaker: Flexible/Rigid Number of tiles: 294 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: ice cube, balloon 37. Crisis Intervention: Dark/Light Number of tiles: 166 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: bounce The matchmaking bounce tiles are very useful because many selectable tiles are hidden. See the four stacks? All of them are bounce tiles all the way down. 38. Frozen Bifocals: Big/Little Number of tiles: 174 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: ice cube Be sure to whittle away at the "lenses," which keep many tiles trapped. 39. Hard Times: Weak/Strong Number of tiles: 162 Time: 7m 05s before hourglass tiles are used. Add approximately 2 minutes for every pair of hourglasses matched. Power tiles: hourglass 40. Flip-Flop: Happy/Sad Number of tiles: 290 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: none This puzzle earns its name. Be prepared to flip the layout often along both the horizontal and vertical axes to be able to see obscured tiles. 41. Typhoons and Balloons: Grab/Release Number of tiles: 165 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: typhoon, balloon 42. Knot Easy: Bad/Good Number of tiles: 162 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: balloon, ice cube 43. 4-D Goggles: Giving/Selfish Number of tiles: 298 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: typhoon 44. Decisions, Decisions: Wrong/Right Number of tiles: 222 Time: 16m 10s Power tiles: balloon, ice cube, firecracker & wall 45. Knockout Punch: Assertive/Passive Number of tiles: 185 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: typhoon, wall only (no firecracker) 46. Coins in the Fountain: Plain/Showy Number of tiles: 186 Time: 21m 10s Power tiles: ice cube, balloon Another match-three layout. 47. Through a Glass Darkly: Group/Self Number of tiles: 149 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: typhoon 48. Beetle Bully: Easy/Hard Number of tiles: 174, becoming 173 very quickly as two ice cube tiles melt and two balloon tiles rise before you even start to play. Time: 20m Power tiles: ice cube, balloon, typhoon A match-three layout. 49. Floorplan: Noisy/Silent Number of tiles: 290 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: none This is a maze-like layout with deep stacks and long rows. Where are all the matches, you wonder? Even with flipping, it is impossible to see all of the selectable tiles. 50. The Last Gongurai: Relaxed/Tense Number of tiles: 290 Time: 24m 50s Power tiles: none Another Gong Monster layout. This has a lot of deep stacks, so whittle away at them with an even hand, or you could end up with duplicates stacked underneath each other. 51. Calm Before the Storm II: Shallow/Deep Number of tiles: 294 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: magnet, typhoon 52. Byzantium: Rebel/Conformist Number of tiles: 307 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: typhoon 53. Assembly: Cold/Hot Number of tiles: 326 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: ice cube, balloon 54. Watch Your Step: Aloof/Enmeshed Number of tiles: 158 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: bounce 55. Double Time: Cheap/Expensive Number of tiles: 318 Time: 3m 45s without hourglasses. Add approximately 2 minutes for every pair of hourglasses matched. Power tiles: hourglass, wall 56. Easy Empathy: Generous/Economical Number of tiles: 298 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: typhoon 57. Double Triple Towers: Wet/Dry Number of tiles 336 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: balloon Try not to skip around; work on clearing a level of a tower so that the balloon tile will rise up, or else tiles underneath will be blocked. Be sure to flip the layout, as many matches will be hard to see. 58. One Typhoon: Here/There Number of tiles: 299 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: typhoon Fortunately, there is more than one typhoon tile, despite the name. 59. Priorities Revisited: Staid/Whimsical Number of tiles: 165 Time: 19m 50s Power tiles: balloon 60. What's Your Viewpoint? Emotional/Rational Number of tiles: 290 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: none Flipping is essential. 61. All Together Now: Modest/Liberal Number of tiles: 314 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: firecracker & wall, copy, typhoon, magnet, swap 62. Boxes of Trouble: Health/Sickness Number of tiles 299 Time: 24m 25s Power tiles: typhoon Match three. 63. Triple Fortress: Life/Death Number of tiles: 327 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: magnet, typhoon, up arrow, down arrow, copy, swap Match three. 64. Final Triumph: Serious/Joking Number of tiles: 330 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: balloon This one is harder than it looks, but it's the last adventure puzzle! You might think the logical strategy would be to dig down into one stack until you release a balloon, then dig down into another. However, in my experience the puzzle seems to be set up so you have to draw your threesome from different stacks. At first there are hardly any matches. It opens up after a little while, but even then you run a decent risk of stalling near the end. Just keep trying and you'll get it eventually. Remember, all puzzles are solvable! After finishing puzzle 64, you will have completed Kwazi's Qwest! Enjoy the animation, watch the credits, turn off the game and come back. You can now access any of the 64 adventure world layouts, in case you haven't had enough of them. Unfortunately, if you want to redo number 64, you will have to step all the way through the previous 63 puzzles; there is no back arrow to take you backwards from 1. Also, numbering the puzzles is an invention of mine; the game identifies them only by name, so you'll have to either count or pay attention. B. CLASSIC WORLD (puzzles 65-96) -- Overview [MJQ12] The 32 puzzles of the Classic World can be found by tapping the circle that is to the right of and a little bit smaller than the Kwazi's Qwest circle. It is labeled "Classics." The tap will take you into a menu with four level choices: Classic, Easy, Fun, and Hard Challenges. Each section has eight puzzles. Puzzles of the Classic World s are straight-out mah jong solitaire. There are no power tiles, game-winning tiles or matching three of a kind. You win by clearing the board. You can, however, vary the gameplay through the use of modes. -- The Modes [MJQ13] Once you tap the level of puzzles you want to play, you will be asked to choose a mode. Each of the four levels can be played using the same five mode options, which you step through by tapping the arrow icons. To select, tap the check mark. Tapping X takes you back to the level menu. You cannot select more than one mode at a time. The five modes of play are: -- Classic. Yes, there is a classic world, a classic level, and now a classic mode. Try to keep up. In classic mode, you solve the puzzles using standard mah jong rules. All uncovered tiles are visible and they don't change throughout the game. This is how most mah jong solitaire is played, hence the triple-classic appellation. -- Speed. Only tiles that can be matched immediately are visible. The rest are blank white until they become playable and have a playable match as well. This does speed up the process of matchmaking. Unfortunately, it hinders strategy planning, as it keeps you from seeing what is available to free up next. -- Mixer. This works like the Gong Monster, without the gongs or the monster. Tiles remaining on the board will be reshuffled whenever no matches are available or you take too long to make a match. This definitely makes things a lot easier. Just make sure you don't allow any big stacks to remain standing, or you'll end up with matches stacked one on top of the other, out of playing reach. -- Memory. If Mixer is the easiest mode, Memory has got to be the hardest. It plays like an old game of Concentration. All tiles are blank white, playable or not. You make tiles visible one at a time by tapping them with your stylus. You need to remember where the matches are. When you tap a matching pair one after the other, they will be removed from the board. -- Lids. All right, there is one type of power tile used in the Classic World: those patchwork-quilt-type lids that cover playable tiles. Remember: red calligraphy character = character suit (or "cracks" as the game calls them) yellow equal sign = bamboo suit ("bams") blue wheels = coins ("circles") yellow stars = anything else After you pick a mode, you will be asked to select one of the puzzles in the level you have chosen. You can do the puzzles in any order. On the puzzle selection screen, you will see displayed the best score and best time so far. This will be the best score and time for all files on the cartridge. so if you share the cartridge, you will be competing against the players of the other files. -- Game Display and Menu: Bottom Screen [MJQ14] The solitaire layout is on the bottom screen of your DS. There is also a row of menu icons at the bottom of the screen. From left to right, they are: Sun/Lightbulb - Will show you available matches, but only when you get down to two available matches. Reverse arrow - Will step you back through your previous moves. It will step you back to the beginning of the puzzle if you want. Horizontal arrows - Will flip the puzzle left to right along a vertical axis. This can also be done by pressing the right shoulder button. Vertical arrows - Will flip the puzzle top to bottom along a horizontal axis. This can also be done by pressing the left shoulder button. Move-along arrow - This icon looks sort of like a little M or H. Tapping it will move you to the next puzzle layout in the level, after asking for confirmation. Circular arrows - Will restart the layout, after asking for confirmation. Book - Opens up a pause menu, with six choices: -- Moon and pyramids (top left). This allows you to set the background of the upper screen. --Hammer and chisel (middle left). This is your options screen, which lets you set the relative volume of the music and sound effects. No matter whether you press the check mark or the X after changing your settings, the game will do the same thing: accept the changes, close the screen and send you back to the game. --Gate (bottom left). Returns you to the main menu, after asking for confirmation and warning you that your progress will be saved up to the last completed puzzle. Translated: you will lose all progress on this uncompleted puzzle. -- Pyramid of tiles (upper right). This takes you back to the board choice option. --Question mark (middle right). Another tutorial. This one explains the various modes, in addition to the general rules. --X (lower right). Closes the menu and returns you to the game at the point where you left off. -- Game Display and Menu: Top Screen [MJQ15] The top screen shows information about the layout you are playing, as follows: --Tiles (top row, left). At the start, shows the number of tiles in the layout. Counts down as you make matches. --Matches (top row, right). Shows the number of available matches you can currently make. --Time bar (just below the top information row). The puzzles are on a timer and the time bar shrinks as you play. When it gets to the end, a gong sounds and you're out of time. The exact time you have left is not displayed on the bar. Time does not start counting down until you make your first move. --Puzzle name. Displayed on an illustration that fills the center of the page. --Time (bottom row, left). Shows the time spent on the current game. --Last match made (bottom row, center). Shows the last match you removed from the board. --Score (bottom row, right). Shows your score for the current game. -- The Levels [MJQ16] ** Classic ** 65. Classic Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Yes, there is a classic world, a classic level, a classic mode, and now a classic layout. This is what you play if you want the most traditional mah jong solitaire experience. 66. Block Party Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 35s 67. Bowtie Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 35s Looks like its name. Work on the long rows. 68. Courtyard Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 35s Attack from the inside as well as the outside. 69. Easy Crates Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 35s Small and large boxes. 70. Intersection Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 35s Looks like a crossroads cutting through town. 71. In the Warehouse Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 35s 72. Mini Classic Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 35s Same number of tile as the classic, but a more compact layout stacked more deeply. ** Easy ** 73. Vertebra Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Work on the horizontal rows in the middle, using the verticals for matching tiles when needed. 74. Where Genius Starts Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s A set of initials. Lots of verticals means lots of available matches. 75. Dead Eye Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s 76. This Is the Empty Layout Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Not empty at all. It's packed full. 77. Hard Crates Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Harder than Easy Crates, I guess. 78. Igloo Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Looks like an igloo. 79. King Tut Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Looks like a face with an Egyptian wig. 80. Odometer Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s If you use your imagination, this could look like an odometer. ** Fun ** 81. Balance Too Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Multiple overlapping staggered layers increase the challenge. 82. Empty Pedestals Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s These look like the title. A group of small platforms over tall stacks over larger platforms. 83. Hidden Fountain Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s The fountain is hidden indeed. It must be that little stack in the center. Get rid of the single tile in the middle first, but don't worry too much about the stack right away. Work in from the edges first. 84. Hint of Trouble Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s 85. Over and Under Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Kind of a fun basket-weave layout. 86. Platformer Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s The middle is deep, so work in from the sides, especially on that center row. 87. Priorities Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Work in from the edges. Try not to clear the middle tiles on top until you need them for matches. 88. Twin Beds Too Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s So cute! And challenging because of all the long rows. Try to get rid of the pillows. ** Hard Challenges ** 89. Hollow Cube Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 35s Underneath the top layer, the cube is partially hollow. Tiles underneath are staggered. 90. Solid Block Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 35s Just as it describes, the block is solid. 91. Fortress of Solitude Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 35s 92. Hollow cubes Number of tiles: 288 Time: 24m 30s Twice as much fun as puzzle 89, above. 93. Through the Looking Glass Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 35s Flip the layout to see all the tiles. 94. Quatro challenge Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s A fun puzzle. Try to get a group of four cleared and out of the way so you don't have one tile blocking two or more staggered tiles underneath. 95. Solid Blocks Number of tiles: 288 Time: 24m 30s Twice as much fun as puzzle 90, above. 96. Classic Number of tiles: 288 Time: 24m 30s Yet another classic puzzle. This one has twice as many tiles, with everything stacked twice as deep as the usual classic puzzle. C. Puzzle World (puzzles 97-128) -- Overview [MJQ17] The Puzzle World is a strange animal. A few of the layouts really are puzzles: small layouts that give you a particular problem to solve with the aid of power tiles. Most of the layouts, however, are just more mah jong matching layouts. They make no use of power tiles or the yin-yang hat tiles. This is not to say they aren't fun. I suppose they're included in this world because there was nowhere else to put them. -- The Modes The modes are exactly the same as in the Classic World. See section [MJQ13] for more information. -- Game Display and Menu: Bottom Screen -- Game Display and Menu: Top Screen - These are exactly the same as in the Classic World. See sections [MJQ14] and [MJQ15] for more information -- The Levels [MJQ18] ** Puzzle Group 1 ** The eight layouts in this group are all what I would consider true puzzles. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend using Mixer mode with these layouts, as it would just make things too easy. On the other hand, using Memory or Lids modes can add to the challenge. 97. One Two Three Number of tiles: 26 Time: 3m 20s Power tiles: none, but uses the hat tiles Win by matching the hat tiles. You must figure out in which order to clear the other tiles. 98. Magnet for Hire Number of tiles: 15 Time: 1m 45s Power tiles: magnet You have one magnet to pull one tile out of a long horizontal row and set up the rest of your matches to win the game. 99. North by Northwest Number of tiles: 50 Time: 6m 05s Power tiles: magnet A larger layout, with four magnet tiles. 100. Elementary My Dear Number of tiles: 15 Time: 1m 10s Power tiles: down arrow, magnet, magic wand, up arrow, wall If you include the hat tiles as power tiles, your ratio of standard to power tiles is 8:7. The challenge is figuring out the order in which to use them. 101. Kwazi's Dilemma Number of tiles: 16 Time: 1m 10s Power tiles: down arrow, typhoon, firecracker & wall 102. Kwazi's Dilemma Too Number of tiles: 17 Time: 1m 10s Power tiles: magnet, down arrow, typhoon, firecracker & wall 103. Tale of Two Swappers Number of tiles: 22 Time: 2m 35s Power tiles: swap 104. Temporary Setback Number of tiles: 55 Time: 5m Power tiles: firecracker & wall The real puzzle might be how quickly can you solve this? ** Puzzle Group 2 ** This group starts out with some puzzle layouts similar to the ones in Group 1, then moves into solitaire layouts. 105. Smiling Dragon Number of tiles: 36 Time: 2m 25s Power tiles: firecracker & wall A smiley face layout composed with dragon tiles, firecrackers and walls. 106. Brick or Brag Number of tiles: 36 Time: 3m 55s Power tiles: firecracker & wall 107. A Tale of Two Bricks Number of tiles: 20 Time: 1m 45s Power tiles: firecracker & wall 108. Buried Treasure Number of tiles: 124 Time: 6m 45s Power tiles: firecracker & wall This is a treasure hunt. If you can solve it without restarting the board, you're just incredibly lucky. 109. Copy of a copy Number of tiles: 22 Time: 2m 35s Power tiles: copy 110. Triple Fortress Number of tiles: 288 Time: 24m 30s Power tiles: none Beginning with this layout, power tiles and hat tiles disappear, nor do you get a hint anymore when your possible matches get down to two. Your object is to clear the board. 111. Tribute Number of tiles: 288 Time: 24m 30s Two tall stacks to work down. Try to work your way down in steps to maximize the number of selectable tiles. 112. The End??? Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Not the end by any means. ** Good Challenges ** 113. Sand Block Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Like a dune, this has waves that ebb and flow. 114. Temple Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s This is built more like a pyramid, with depth at the center. Work your way in from the sides. 115. That a way Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s The horizontal rows are layered in a staggered fashion, so the ends of rows pile up in the middle. 116. The Three Wisdoms Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Remember to flip the layout. 117. Three Columns Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s This is relatively easy, as you start with a great many available tiles. Try to clear the rows of tiles on top first, which are staggered over the middle tiles underneath them. 118. Tiger's Eye Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s This is more challenging than it looks. As you work your way down through the stacks, many tiles around the perimeter will be blocked horizontally. 119. Tough Crates Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s 120. Tri Tri Again Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Concentrate on the large layout of tiles on top, going to the bottom group for matches as needed. ** Unique Puzzles ** These layouts look like their names. 121. A Bridge Too Far Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s 122. Tetrahedron Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s 123. Town Square Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s 124. Parking Garage Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s 125. Connectors Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Work inward from the ends of the horizontal rows. 126. Bathtub with No Shower Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s 127. Bathtub with Shower Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Use the tall shower pipe to match tiles from the horizontal rows. 128. Through a Glass Darkly Number of tiles: 144 Time: 19m 30s Work on the large diamond first, using the reflection for matches when needed. Congratulations! You have finished all the puzzles! Now you can go back and try for better times or higher scores, or challenge yourself with some of the more difficult modes. ***************************** VII. SCORING [MJQ19] ***************************** I really don't pay much attention to scoring when I play, but if you want an extra challenge, you can try for a high score. I don't know what the potential high score for any puzzle is, nor do I know whether there's a bonus for scoring high. If you figure it out, send me an e-mail and I'll include the information (with credit, of course) in this FAQ. There are two ways to score points: first, by matching tiles, and second, by earning a time bonus by completing the puzzle in less than the alloted time. You get a big bonus if you can match identical tiles two or more times in a row. For example, say you make a match with 9s of bamboo. For that match, you will score 9 points. If, on your very next turn, you match another pair of 9s of bamboo, you will score 34 points. The scoring is the same if you are matching 3 tiles in a match 3 layout. If you happen to make a third match in a row, as can happen in some layouts, you will get the 34 points again. This will not work if you change suits; the subsequent matches must be exactly the same card. The exceptions are the flower and season tiles, because each of those series has four unique tiles, each of which can be matched with any of the others. If you match two flowers, you will get 15 points, and if you can immediately match the other two, you will get 40. Seasons score the same. Here is a list of tiles and the scores you get for initial and repeat matches: Tile 1st match Immediate repeat match 1 1 26 2 2 27 3 3 28 4 4 29 5 5 30 6 6 31 7 7 32 8 8 33 9 9 34 Dragons 10 35 Winds 10 35 Flowers 15 40 Seasons 15 40 There is no score given for using a power tile. In addition, you are penalized in a sense for using the typhoon tiles, because you get no score for the tiles they sweep off the board. So if you have a choice, you might want to use those on 1s and 2s rather than your honors tiles. Even making duplicate matches earns small potatoes when compared to the time bonus, however. Roughly, you earn about 2 points per second for completing the puzzle in less than the maximum allotted time. This may not sound like much, but if you can complete a puzzle 15 minutes early, you can earn a couple thousand points. So, while it's good to grab those repeat tile match bonuses when you see them, don't spend too much time looking for them or setting them up. ***************************** VIII. STRATEGY TIPS [MJQ20] ***************************** -- Work to maximize the number of tiles that are available. When faced with a choice between two tiles, choose the one that will uncover at least one other tile. -- Try to whittle away at long horizontal rows and deep vertical stacks. Both can trap needed tiles. -- The timer doesn't start until you touch a tile, so take a little time to study the board at the beginning before making a move. -- Don't assume a tile isn't playable. In several layouts, tiles that look like they are directly underneath other tiles are playable. At other times, what looks like a long horizontal row might actually be a series of stacks with playable tiles. If you see a possible match, tap it with your stylus. The tiles might be playable. -- If you don't see a good match, flip the layout both horizontally and vertically. Many times this will show up obscured tiles. Other times, it might just provide you with a fresh point of view. If an obscured tile is playable but you can't see what it is, tap it with your stylus to highlight it before flipping the layout. --Use your power tiles judiciously, but do use them! Not only do they work as intended, but sometimes you just need to get them out of the way. --When working on a long horizontal row that is several tiles deep, try to get the ends to form "steps." This will expose more tiles than if you start by trying to just get rid of a row at a time. --When you work a stack or row down to the point where you have some single tiles or pairs of tiles on the board, try not to use them unless absolutely necessary. This is because they don't make anything else available when you use them, and they will always be available when you need them. ****************************** IX. LEGAL STUFF, ETC. [MJQ21] ****************************** Copyright Notice: This document is Copyright 2008 Cici L, "FemmeFromMars." It may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site outside of GameFAQs. It may not be distributed electronically outside of the GameFAQs web site, and it may not be distributed otherwise at all. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public format is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright. All trademarks etc. belong to their respective holders. If you have questions, comments, corrections or additions to this FAQ, please e-mail me at femmefrommars (at) yahoo (dot) com. Please note in the subject field that your mail is about the Mahjong FAQ, or it might get deleted. In conclusion, I'd like to thank IWin and GameFAQs, darklao for being my FAQ mentor, anotherdeadcow for his encouragement, all my homies on the Grups board, my husband and kids for more than I deserve, and you for making it all the way to the end! This guide is dedicated to Spiral Subject.
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