Playing using British and other Western rules

OVERVIEW:  Getting startedPreparing to play ⇒ Leader onlyOther playersHelp whilst playingEast WindEast Wind and the Prevailing Wind indicatorBreaking the wallDealing the tilesOrganising the tiles in your handPlaying the game ⇒ Flower & Season tilesTaking and discarding tilesDeclaring pungs & kongsThe kong boxMah-JongThe goulash ⇒ The two-player gamePlaying aids

Getting started

Once you have worked out how you are going to communicate with your friends and decided who is going to lead you into the new game enter your name (it can be just your first name), but then wait for the leader to initiate the game.

Note: Clicking on “How to play” will give you a full explanation of MFO . “PLAY NOW” which will show you how to get the game on your device.


Preparing to play

Leader only

Before you create a new game, adjust the settings to conform with British rules.

  • Click on the settings icon to the right of the screen.
  • Set the following ON: Dragons & Winds, Flowers & Season, Index Hints.
  • Set the following OFF: Animals, Jokers (these are not the jokers we sometimes use), Red Fives, Rotated Tiles.
  • Set Initial score to (I suggest) 4,000.
  • Set “Nobody” Players OFF(It only affects the 2 and 3 player games)
  • Click on the “Back” button at the bottom of the screen.
  • Click on “Create New Game”.

Wait for all the other players to join before starting the game.

The settings will then be saved for future sessions.

Other players

Enter the game code number given you by the leader.

Help whilst playing

Once you are shown the board with the four Mah-Jong walls, you can find some helpful information about how to play MFO by clicking on “Game” then “Help“. To return to the board click on “Back” (bottom left).

East Wind

The player designated to be East Wind is indicated by the position of the dice. They are to his/her left. Note that the four Wind symbols at the centre of the table correspond with this, as does the Prevailing Wind indicator at the centre.

Initially players are organised alphabetically around the table (in a counter clockwise fashion) – for example Ann (East), Bill (South), Clare (West), David (North). For the moment ignore any discrepancies between seating positions (physical, if you are a couple, or showing on the Zoom, etc. screen) and the board shown by MFO.

Choose who is actually to be East Wind. I suggest each player rolls the dice to decide (just click on them without changing their position).

East Wind and the Prevailing Wind indicator

If, for example, Clare is East Wind you will probably want the Prevailing Wind indicator (E) to show this by its orientation. Moving the dice will not achieve this.

However, Clare can swap positions with Ann by moving her name across the board. It will swing around to show the change. Other players can then move themselves so that their MFO table positions correspond with perceived positions.

The Prevailing Wind Indicator will remain in this orientation for the remainder of the game. So you can then see when all players have been East Wind. Clicking on it will change it to S, W, N, E, etc.

Breaking the wall

Decide on where to break the wall as you would normally (by clicking on the dice — twice).

The player whose wall this is in then moves the two loose tiles back on top of the dead wall to show the break point. He then counts six tiles back and moves the 14 tiles away from the rest of the wall to form the kong box.

Dealing the tiles

Players can take tiles from the wall in the same manner as a normal game (four at a time etc.) which you may find more attractive than having them dealt automatically by MFO (though it is a bit difficult for players adjacent to the wall to make out where the appropriate tiles are).

If you opt for MFO to deal, I would suggest that East Wind does this. Click on “Game” on the top right of the screen, then “Deal Tiles”.

Organising the tiles in your hand

You can move them around at will. Click on “Hand” then “Sort” to bring the suit tiles together.


Playing the game

Flower & Season tiles

Move these to the MELDS area on your left hand side. You may find the easiest way is to bring each tile back towards you until it tilts, then release it (though you can also simply move it there). “MELD” is a Mah-Jong term which would be recognised in other rules.

Taking and discarding tiles

Tiles can simply be moved from the wall to your hand and from your hand to the DISCARDS area, where they can then be seen by all the players.

Tiles can be moved around very quickly. Sometimes this doesn’t give others time to react (e.g. to call ‘pung!’), so I would suggest some caution here (particularly to start with).

Note that you are shown (on your left) the number of tiles in your hand. This is a helpful check. Once you have completed your turn, dividing this number by 3 should always leave you with 1 remainder.

Declaring pungs & kongs

Place these in the MELDS area.

If you declare a concealed kong, you can turn its end tiles facedown by clicking on them. However, an exposed kong is best shown with all tiles face up to avoid any confusion with an adjacent exposed pung. (You can’t separate the sets.)

The kong box

Putting loose tiles on the top of the kong box can sometimes be a bit tricky, so you may find it simpler to avoid doing this after the initial two tiles.

Make sure you separate the kong box from the live wall before you start playing as it can lead to later complications if you don’t.


Once someone has called Mah-Jong you can reveal your hand by clicking on “Hand (top left) then “Reveal”.

The goulash

2 Bamboos will always be the wild tiles. You cannot substitute any joker tiles.

To swap tiles click on the three you don’t want to turn them face down. Move them to the DISCARDS area of the player you are swapping with. He/she can then put them in his/her hand.


The two-player game

Make sure that NobodyPlayers (in Settings) is set to OFF.  This ensures that no tiles are then dealt to these (non-existent) players.

Move one of the players to the opposite side of the table before dealing.

Playing aids

You can get some playing aids – cards which you can have to hand which explain how to play by British Rules. The one about special hands is particularly useful.

You may also find it helpful to use this doubling calculator when you are calculating your score. It might be easily accessed from a separate window or a smartphone.