Welcome to Four Winds, a computer version of Mah Jong, the traditional Chinese game of tiles for four players. Four Winds version 2 lets you play against three computer players, or you can have up to three human adversaries by playing the game over the local area network or over the Internet.

Though the origins of Mah Jong are several hundreds years old, the history of the game as it is known today only extends to the late 19th century. The game was introduced in the USA early in the 20th century and is now popular all over the world.

Mah Jong resembles card games like Gin Rummy or Canasta, but it is played with tiles made of mother-of-pearl, fish bone or ivory (nowadays usually of plastic) with figures and kanji characters engraved on them. The backside of the tiles is made of bamboo. The number of tiles in a complete set is normally 144 (136 regular tiles plus eight bonus tiles).

Mah Jong is easy to learn, though in the beginning the rather complicated scoring system may seem confusing. The element of luck is strong, as in all card games, but you’ll soon notice that having a good memory and intuition is rewarding, and that a player who is able to adapt to his luck by finding a balance between the offensive and defensive strategies is most likely to win in the long run. In the real game, it is important to have a good psychological eye, as well. To become a master of the game, several years of practicing is required.

The rule variations of Mah Jong are endless. Four Winds lets you customize many of the rules, enabling you to change the nature of the game from a sheer game of fortune to an intellectual challenge with an emphasis on strategic versatility. E.g., in addition to many European and Chinese versions, you can choose classical and modern American, Australian, or classical and the modern Japanese version of Mah Jong. You can also customize the rules, change the scoring, rename the scoring patterns and save your customized rules as user-defined rule presets.

Related topics
Historical overview
Symbolism of Mah Jong
Luck and Skill in Mah Jong