OK - I finally jumped into MahjongSoul today...

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Goldeneye
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OK - I finally jumped into MahjongSoul today...

Post by Goldeneye » Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:04 pm

...and it didn't take long for me to buy in to that site.

Defaulting to English and also having payment options in USD instead of JPY for things you want to buy (in a pinch), where almost no other site offers is a big plus for sure. Starting with 10,000 copper coins off the bat doesn't hurt either.

Also, the fact that there were thousands of people playing at the same time bodes well - even though I was playing on a Sunday afternoon EST in the USA (midnight East Asia time).

The option to turn on Western indices is a pretty good thing too, but I don't really need it.

And also, it not needing a separate download and apparently built on HTML5 is a pretty good thing too.

Beginner's luck struck as on my first two games (one 4p Tonpuusen and one four 4p Hanchan) got 2nd and 1st, respectively, and my first three winning hands were an oya mangan and two ko hanemans.

Sounds like I found my mahjong fix for awhile.

Lxa_
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Re: OK - I finally jumped into MahjongSoul today...

Post by Lxa_ » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:25 am

To be fair, Mahjong Time has had English, USD payments, option for tiles with indices and no-download game for many years already. The downside is that their player population is smaller. But it has other advantages - such as implementing EMA rules, for instance.

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Ozball
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Re: OK - I finally jumped into MahjongSoul today...

Post by Ozball » Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:04 am

Mahjong Soul is a decent platform to play on, though as mention the player base is smaller than Tenhou. But on the upside, it is fully in English. Worth noting that the general impression of the lower levels of MahjongSoul (Bronze Room specifically) is that there is a LOT of calling, which is not usually as common in Riichi compared to some other Mahjong rulesets, and frustrates a lot of intermediate players who join the platform. From what I've heard it's not so bad at the higher room levels, so if it is something that's bothering you in the lower rooms, it is meant to get better higher up.
Lxa_ wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:25 am
To be fair, Mahjong Time has had English, USD payments, option for tiles with indices and no-download game for many years already. The downside is that their player population is smaller. But it has other advantages - such as implementing EMA rules, for instance.
This is the first time I've heard of Mahjong time. How is the player base size? How does the game play feel compares to MahjongSoul and/or Tenhou? It seems like the platform is designed to cater to all mahjong styles?
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Lxa_
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Re: OK - I finally jumped into MahjongSoul today...

Post by Lxa_ » Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:28 pm

Mahjong Time has been around since at least 2005. It is in English, with partial support for several other languages. Plays Riichi, MCR, American, Taiwanese and HKOS on ongoing basis and in scheduled tournaments. Additionally, there are tournaments in Zung Jung and Washizu. For Riichi, there is choice between EMA rules (no red fives) and Japanese-style rules (with red fives). There is also an option for Sanma.

The membership cost is US $5 per month for “premium” membership and US $8 per month for “VIP” membership. There is also “free” membership, but paradoxically, people who try playing for “free” end up paying much more. This is because of the “chips” system - you play to win or lose virtual “chips”, and when you lose and run out of them, you have to pay to get more. On paid memberships, you are given a fair amount of those “chips” every day, which is usually enough in order to stop worrying about them - on “premium” if you win a least sometimes, or on “VIP” even if you never win.

The only serious downside is having to wait until there is enough players joining the table to start a game. From my experience, the wait time for Riichi-EMA and for MCR is about 5-10 minutes. For HKOS, it will be much faster. For Riichi-Japanese it will probably be even slower (I never tried). I do not remember seeing people playing Sanma. The wait time may depend on time of day - there are more players from Europe and Russia than from North America.

However, in my opinion, the wait is worth it.

Speaking of the level of players: in Riichi room, you rarely see people who have no idea what they are doing - why wait longer, when they can go play HKOS? Speaking of the visual design: not as squeaky clean and super efficient as Tenhou, but quite pleasing and trying to be fancy in a nice way.

I used to play MCR on Mahjong Time and Riichi on Tenhou, but at some point I switched from Tenhou to Mahjong Time for Riichi as well, in spite of having to wait to start a game. The main reason for this is that Mahjong Time has much more relaxed atmosphere. Somehow on Tenhou I felt very stressed. I was afraid of going down in rank, and I did not like the fact that everybody who knew my Tenhou name was able to see the history of my games and how I was doing. On Mahjong Time, your rating can go all the way up and down, but you never lose a rank that you have achieved. It gives you a little more time per turn (7 sec for most of Riichi games). And I like EMA rules. In my opinion, red fives add too much extra volatility to the game that is already very volatile.

Also, on Mahjong Time there are personal touches that contribute a lot to feeling comfortable - I like that you can customize your avatar to represent yourself in a way that you want to appear to look like. Many people just upload their own images. Players can share a little info about themselves if they want. You can throw a few words in a chat. And because of smaller player base, you meet the same people again and again.

I also like that Mahjong Time forces you to think before clicking a button. For instance, the button for riichi is available all the time that your hand is closed, so it is entirely up to you to know if you are tenpai or not and to avoid potential chombo. This, and EMA rules, help you train for IRL tournaments, which (at least in the West) mostly use either EMA or very similar WRC.

I have not tried playing on Mahjong Soul, so cannot compare.

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