I’ve recently started playing Mah Jongg on a new website www.myjongg.net. I was intrigued, in part because I haven’t played Mah Jongg online previously. I found that while this is definitely not my preferred method of play, it does fulfill some needs.
The game is played with the NMJL 2016 card, and the rules are the same. I was able to visualize all the discards in an easier format than if I was playing live. Points are awarded for wall games, wins, and drawing one’s own Mah Jongg tile. Points are deducted for passing the winning Mah Jongg tile to someone else.
I have played several games where the three other players were bots. Many have cute names that are variations of common words or phrases. Since they are computers their decisions about passing or claiming a tile take mere seconds in total. It seems that most human players logged onto the site at any given time are playing this way, with one human and three bots. Why? If no human players are available, new players can gain experience; however feedback from fellow Mah Jongg enthusiasts is missing. If there are no Mah Jongg games or players available in a particular area at the time, then this system may suffice to cure pangs of Mah Jongg withdrawal. There are also times that I have an extra 15 or 30 minutes and can play a couple of quick games with the bots.
Of course it’s usually more enjoyable to play with other human players than with robots. I sometimes find other people who are available at the time I want to play. Although I don’t know any of them personally, I have played with many of the same folks in subsequent games. Unfortunately I find that sometimes human players are slow to respond and occasionally leave a game before it is finished. Perhaps this is common because playing a computer game does not necessitate refraining from distractions such as electronic devices and cell phones. Sometimes when the wait for a discarded tile seems interminable, I wonder if the guilty player is reading email or talking on the phone.
Although one can “chat” with the other players, it’s certainly not the same as playing live. I like hearing the click of tiles and the sighs of the other participants, and commiserating being “oh so close”. But for those times when I need a “quick fix” it is acceptable, and enjoyable.