The standard layout has been called 'The Turtle', 'The Pyramid' and 'The Dragon' layout. 

The original layout was called 'The Turtle' by the creator Brodie Lockard in the 1981 Mah-Jongg. The original configuration was intended to look like a turtle.

In 1986 the Shanghai game described the standard layout as "arranged in a dragon- shaped pyramid". It was Activision's marketing department that came up with this 'dragon description'.

According to Tom Sloper there are four "schools" of how to create a layout (tile arrangement) or "board":

a) "Canned, and winnable". Japanese programmers tend to create "canned" tile arrangements - they are carefully planned and arranged to have just the right amount of traps, yet be winnable. There is no mathematical program algorithm at all - the tile arrangements are all carefully planned by a game designer. You get a very limited number of arrangements, but a challenging game. The drawback is that some players can memorize the pattern for removing the pairs.

b) "Random" - American programmers tend to create purely "random" tile arrangement - with no guarantee as to winnability or challenge. You get a huge number of possible arrangements.

c) "Random, but winnable" - Every game is winnable (at least one path to victory and possibly several to failure). The program uses an algorithm to arrange the tiles a pair at a time, from the bottom and up. You still get a lot of possible arrangements.

d) The game uses a "seed" number to generate some arrangements, not all of which are solvable. 

Several solitaire mahjongg games let's you choose between "random" and "random, but winnable" layouts.

Most solitaire mahjongg computer implementations can generate puzzles that are guaranteed to be solvable. 

According to Jarno Elonen it is impossible to come up with an algorithm that could always solve them. This is correct for the case where you are not allowed to peek below the tiles.

If, however, you are allowed to peek under the tiles before taking them (complete-information variant of the game), it is obviously possible to write a solver. See: Pedro Gimeno Fortea (read more about the Shanghai auto-solver in Misc. page)

Layouts to Kyodai MahJongg:



There was earlier no need to list all places with Kyodai layouts, when Marc Lesselberg already had done it. His website *was the* starting place for everything related to Kyodai MahJongg. It contained custom tilesets, small tilesets, backgrounds, songs, layouts, skins and themes! Unfortunately, it went offline in March 2004.

The Link List' was an 100% complete list of other Kyodai MahJongg fan sites (including the ones with layouts). A copy of the list is available at 'Chachi's Kyodai Fan Site'.

But don't forget to get the 135 extra layouts offered on Kyodai MahJongg own Extra Downloads page

Tileset: Ivory on Alabaster, layout: Arena



Some screen shots of layouts to Kyodai MahJongg...

Cards-Clubs by Ernie Polegato


Tree Of Life (by Douglas Ulyate)

Chinese Wall by Marc Lesselberg

New Layout 41 (Phantagia's)

New Layout 51 (Phantagia's)

3 crowns (Patrick Becker)

Breakout (Patrick Becker)


Note that layouts made for Kyodai MahJongg also can be used in the following games:

MahJongg Master 1-5, and X MahJongg (X11/Unix) 


Some layouts for 'Shih Dao' and 'Ultimate Mahjongg' are listed on the tilesets page


Source: tile arrangement: Tom Sloper in 'Re: Arcade Activision Shanghai', 1998/04/03, and in 'Re: Mahjong/Solitile thoughts..' 1998/10/27

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