Contents of the MJLAPTOP.DOC file
Program and Documentation
Copyright 1988, 1989 Ron Balewski
Mah Jongg LapTop is a User-Supported (Shareware) prooduct. It is freely
available through User's Groups, Bulletin Boards, etc. You have the
opportunity to try the game and see if it suits your needs. If you find
that you enjoy and use this game, please send the requested contribution
of $15.00 to:
412 E. Ridge St.
Nanticoke, PA 18634
User-supported shareware can exist only as long as you, the users, will
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
WHAT IS MAH JONG LapTop ................ 3
HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS .................. 3
THE GAME OF MAH JONGG .................. 4
The Tiles ......................... 4
The Suits ......................... 4
The Game Board .................... 4
Playing Mah Jongg ................. 5
Strategy .......................... 5
PLAYING MAH JONGG LapTop ............... 6
The Basics ........................ 6
The Added Features ................ 7
Messages ..................... 7
Restore ...................... 7
Quit ......................... 7
New Game ..................... 7
Save ......................... 7
What's Left .................. 8
Back-up ...................... 8
Help ......................... 8
Info... ...................... 8
WHAT'S NEXT ............................ 9
ADVERTISEMENT .......................... 9
SHARWEWARE ............................. 9
DISCLAIMER ............................. 9
PERMISSION TO DISTRIBUTE .............. 10
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WHAT IS MAH JONG LapTop?
Mah Jongg LapTop is a high-tech simulation of the ancient Chinese
game of Mah Jongg. Some historians date Mah Jongg back to the time of
Confucius -- over 25 centuries ago!
It's believed that sailors and fishermen played Mah Jongg as a
diversion from the monotony of their long voyages. The game was
originally played with cards, but eventually bone and bamboo tiles were
substituted since these were less likely to be blown off the deck.
Mah Jongg LapTop recreates the beauty and addictive pleasure of Mah
Jongg on the screen of your laptop PC.
In an attempt to make this game as playable as possible, given the
graphics limitations of most portable LCD displays, the tiles were
designed to be easily identifiable. hile this version of Mah Jongg may
not be as graphically pleasing as some other versions, it is nonetheless
fun to play.
WHAT DO I NEED?
Mah Jongg LapTop will run on properly-equipped PC's and laptops
with 512k of memory. I'm sure it'll run with less, but since I don't
know the exact lower limit, I'm being conservative with my estimate.
CGA compatible graphics (found on virtually all laptop PCs) and a
Microsoft-compatible mouse are also required.
A fast processor isn't really necessary. While a fast machine will
speed up tile removal somewhat, the game plays just fine on a standard
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THE GAME OF MAH JONGG
There are 42 different tiles used in Mah Jongg as follows: 27 Suit
tiles (nine tiles in each of three suits), 3 Dragons, 4 Winds, 4 Seasons,
and 4 Flowers.
The Suit Of Dots - This suit goes back to the original sailor's
version of Mah Jongg. The dots probably represent money.
The Suit Of Bam - Bam stands for Bamboo. Because bamboo was used
to make deadly spears, this suit is thought to represent power or
The Suit Of Crak - These are also called Characters or Actors.
Crak may represent actual people or may simply be characters from the
The Dragons - In the Ancient Mah Jongg, each suit was associated
with a Dragon as follows:
White dragons - Suit Of Dots
Red Dragons - Suit Of Bam
Green Dragons - Suit Of Crak
This association has no direct bearing on the current play of the game.
The Winds - These tiles simply represent the four directions of the
winds -- North, South, East, and West.
The Flowers - The four flowers - Orchid, Plum, Mum, and Bamboo -
were introduced by a medieval princess to add beauty and romance to the
The Seasons - This is another direct representation -- this time of
the seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. It is thought that
the seasons were added to Mah Jongg by river gamblers.
THE GAME BOARD
Each game board consists of 144 tiles made up of four of each type
of tile EXCEPT for the Seasons and Flowers of which there is one each.
The tiles are laid out in a formation called a Dragon. The position of
each tile in the dragon is completely random, making each dragon unique.
Some are more formidable than others. Some are actually impossible to
defeat. But all are challenging and exciting.
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The tiles are placed in stacks ranging in height from one tile at
the edge to five tiles at the center. The easiest way to understand the
dragon is to see one. Run Mah Jongg LapTop. The dragon you'll see
will be a far better explanation than I can give.
PLAYING MAH JONGG
The object of Mah Jongg is simple -- remove all of the tiles by
matching pairs. But there IS a catch. Only tiles which are "free" can
A tile is considered "free" if there's nothing on top of it and if
it can slide out to the left OR right. If tiles on both sides are
stacked to the same height the tile is not "free" to be removed.
Two tiles MUST be free and MUST be an exact match (exceptions
later) before they can be removed from the dragon. Removal of
mis-matched tiles and removal of un-free tiles is not allowed.
The exception: Since there is one each of the Seasons and the
Flowers, these tiles cannot be matched identically. So any flower can
match with any other flower. Likewise, any season can match with any
During my countless hours of testing Mah Jongg LapTop, I've found
a few pieces of strategy that seem to help:
--> Concentrate on removing the four tiles which are blocking the most
moves - the top tile, the single tile on the left, and the two tiles on
--> Look for quadruples. If all four of a given tile are free, remove
them all immediately. This will get them out of the way and won't cause
--> Keep an eye out for doubles (two tiles free) of tiles with only two
left (the monochrome screen helps here). These should also be removed
--> Before removing two tiles of four remaining, be sure that no OBVIOUS
harm (trapped tiles) will occur.
--> Always check for triples. If you've found a pair with four
remaining, see if any more are free. Then, take the two which will free
up the most tiles.
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PLAYING MAH JONGG LapTop
To start Mah Jongg LapTop, just place the game disk into a drive,
log onto that drive, and type MJLAPTOP at the DOS prompt. After some
disk activity, the opening screen will come up. A short time later, the
title screen will clear and the dragon will be drawn.
Tiles are removed by first selecting one, then selecting its mate.
To select a tile, just point to it with the mouse and press the left
mouse button. The tile will change color to show that it has been
selected. You don't have to double-click to remove the tiles. When two
tiles have been selected, they will (after validation) be removed.
To de-select a tile, just click on it again. The tile will return
If you click on a tile which is not free, a 'Tile Not Free"
message will appear on the left side of the screen after which the
offending tile will automatically be de-selected. Likewise, if you
select two tiles wcich don't match, you'll see a "Tiles don't match"
message after which both tiles will be de-selected.
The counter at the top-left of the screen will show how many tiles
remain in the dragon.
This is all you really need to know to play the game. But, there
are some other features which make the play a lot more enjoyable. The
menu of features can be found in the upper right section of the display.
I'll explain each of these features individually in a moment. But, to
activate any one of them, just point to the desired feature with the
mouse and click the left button.
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THE ADDED FEATURES
For convenience, I'll describe the features as they appear in the
menu from top to bottom, starting with Messages Are On / Off.
MESSAGES ARE ON / OFF
This option controls whether or not the "Tile not free" and
Tiles do not match" messages are printed. The messages are
initially on. They can be toggled on / off by clicking on the
box. When the messages are turned off, un-free tile selections
are ignored and mis-matched selections are simply reset.
Experienced players may prefer to turn off the messages to keep
mis-clicks from slowing up the game with messages.
Restore will load a game previously saved to disk. A window
will open and you'll be asked to type a file name. If you hit
this button accidentally, just cancel the restore by pressing
Return without typing a file name.
Selecting Quit will clear both monitors and return you to the
Clicking on New Game will start a new game of Mah Jongg. The
screen will clear and the title screen will appear while the
computer shuffles the tiles. Then, the title screen will clear
and a new dragon will be drawn.
The Save command is Restore's partner. You can save a current
game to disk for later completion by clicking here. You'll be
asked for a file name for the game. If you decide not to save
the game, just press Return without typing anything. Either
way, you'll be returned to the current game.
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To see exactly what tiles are left in the dragon, just click
here! The dragon will be replaced by a graphic depiction of
exactly how many of which tiles are left. Very useful for
determining tricky moves! To return to the game board, just
click the RIGHT mouse button.
Each time you click on Back-up, your last move will be taken
back. You can back-up all the way to the beginning of the game,
if you like.
Help is really it's own little sub-function. When you click on
help, the machine will pause for a moment (it's looking for
moves) and will then do one of two things. If no moves are
left, yu'll see a "No moves left" message on the left side of
the screen. You're now free to start a new game or back-up to
try to correct errors in this one (I often do this).
If one or more moves is left, the message will tell you how
many. The tiles for the first move will be highlighted on
the screen. Then, a small control panel with four buttons
will appear on the bottom left section of the screen. To leave
Help, click on Exit. To see the next move, just click on
"Next". Click on "Previous" to display the previous move. When
you've decided which move you'd like to take, you can execute it
by first stepping to it with the Next / Previous buttons and
then clicking on "Do It!" The help menu will disappear and your
selected move will be executed.
The help system is automatically exited when you select Do It!
to keep you from playing the entire game from within the Help
menu. After all, we've got to give the Dragon a fighting
This command is located in the BOTTOM right corner of the
screen. Selecting INFO... simply displays the game title, a
copyright notice, a shareware notice, and the author's name &
address. This isn't necessary, but it's nice to have just in
case the program gets separate d from its .DOC file. Click the
right mouse button to return to the game.
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If enough people are interested in Mah Jongg LapTop, there are a
couple things I'd like to do to it (such as giving the user a choice of
tile sets). If you have any ideas on how to improve Mah Jongg LapTop,
please let me know! All suggestions are welcome!
I'm also not sure how well requiring a mouse on a laptop will be
received. Yes, I have a serial mouse for my SupersPort. But then, I'm
a mouse addict and would probably not play this game if I couldn't use a
mouse with it. If you'd like a keyboard-controlled, version, let me
know. If enough people want it, I'll give it a shot. But you'll have
to tell me exactly HOW you'd like the keyboard interface to work. As I
said, I'm a mouse freak and can't think of ANY keyboard system that I'd
be willing to use!!!
I also have a VGA graphics version of Mah Jongg entitled (what
else) Mah Jongg -V-G-A-. It uses the FULL VGA RESOLUTION OF 640 x 480
(it seems like few so-called VGA games do). And, it uses 16 colors
which I custom-mixed using the VGA's flexible color scheme!!! Of
course, a Microsoft mouse is also required. If you'd like a copy of Mah
Jongg -V-G-A-, just send $18.00 ($15.00 registration & $3.00 copying
As a special offer, you can register both Mah Jongg -V-G-A- and Mah
Jongg LapTop for only $20.00. And for an additional $5.00, I'll send
you Mah Jongg -V-G-A- on a 5.25" disk and Mah Jongg LapTop on either
3.5" or 5.25" (your choice).
Please remember that this game is NOT public domain. It is
shareware! If you play and enjoy this game regularly, you are urged to
send the registration fee of $15.00 (or any amount that you see fit).
Remember, shareware will only be around as long as YOU support the
Whether or not you choose to register, I'd like to hear your
comments and suggestions on Mah Jongg LapTop. If you'd like a reply,
please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
All comments and contributions can be sent to:
412 E. Ridge St.
Nanticoke, PA 18634
In no event shall the Author be liable to you for any damages,
including any lost profits, lost savings, or other incidental or
consequential damages arising out of the use of or inability to use this
program, even if the Author has been advised of the possibility of such
damages, or for any claim by any other party.
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PERMISSION TO COPY
Individuals, clubs, and other organizations are granted permission
by the author to freely copy and distribute this program and
documentation as long as:
1: There is no charge for the software or documentation. However, you
may charge a service fee for disk duplication and distribution, as long
as such fee is not more than $5.00.
2. Club members are informed of the user-supported (shareware) concept
and are encouraged to support it with their donations.
3. The program or its documentation are not modified in any way.
4. All files are distributed together on the same diskette (if
possible). No file may be deleted.
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