getting started in tenhou

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or2az
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getting started in tenhou

Post by or2az » Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:38 pm

During the 16 months that I have been playing Japanese Mahjong and been on the forum, I have seen "tenhou" mentioned and discussed quite often.
What I read, as the saying goes, went in one ear and out the other. I wasn't really very interested at the time.
Having now played over 3200 games on one particular app, I think I've reached the point where I'd like to give Tenhou a shot but I'm hesitant and reluctant to start pressing buttons on a website when I can't read and understand exactly what it is I'm pressing. I tried hitting OK on the log-in screen and got to a page where you can choose a type of game from 2 columns of six each. Understood that part but I stopped there.
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The pop-ups that appear when you hit the buttons in the bottom left do not seem to match the ones that I found while searching for information online. Had to search for more recent updated instructions. http://mahjong.us.com/forum/index.php/t ... tml#msg198
Can you translate this?
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I would appreciate it if you could share anything at all relating to Tenhou, even basic stuff. Having never played online mahjong, assume I know nothing.
Some things that come to mind,
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Whats the difference between NAME, USER ID, and "an alias"?.......(also, economy vs premium)
Clarification regarding lobbies? (L0000, L7447, L8000, private, ranked, unranked, etc.)
How much time is allowed when it's your turn and what happens if you go over it?
What happens if a players internet connection fails during the game?
Anything and everything that would be different from playing computer opponents on an app would be helpful.

I think, by accident, I played one hand of a practice game vs computer opponents (from those pop-ups) but it went so fast I didn't have time to think.
If that's the speed of the real games, I don't think I'm ready yet.

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by Iapetus » Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:29 pm

You probably went there already, but http://arcturus.su/tenhou/ is the top source for translated Tenhou information, although not necessarily fully up to date. http://tenhou.net/man/ is the Japanese manual - mostly useful for updated tables. http://osamuko.com/SEX/ has an explanation on the stats screen.
or2az wrote:Can you translate this?
The leftmost dropdown menu says "Menu". It's options, from top to bottom, are "List of played games", "Minigames", "Purchase ID", and "Log out".
The second menu, which you have open, says "Test Play". It's options, from top to bottom, are "Tonpuusen Ari Aka Fast", "Tonpuusen Ari Aka", "Tonpuusen Ari Aka 3p", "Jansou 0 beta", "Jansou 2 beta", "Jansou 5 beta", and "Single hand".

I don't know that much about the minigames, Jansou, or Single hand. You are free to ignore those. "Tonpuusen Ari Aka" is the best one to test if the game works.
Whats the difference between NAME, USER ID, and "an alias"?.......(also, economy vs premium)
Clarification regarding lobbies? (L0000, L7447, L8000, private, ranked, unranked, etc.)
How much time is allowed when it's your turn and what happens if you go over it?
What happens if a players internet connection fails during the game?
Anything and everything that would be different from playing computer opponents on an app would be helpful.
User ID is in the form ID-##########. It's effectively a password you use to access your registered account. You register your account with the "Create new ID" button. When creating an ID, you choose a name for the ID. You can also sign in by typing a name. This doesn't let you rank up or save your stats. It's recommended that you create an ID.

Premium looks better than Economy, and has voice acting. The only "benefit" to Economy is the ability to play "Jansou Silver" without paying. You probably wouldn't want to play it anyways. In the old days, Economy was required to play in the Dan and Upperdan sublobbies without paying, but that's no longer the case.

L0000 is the default lobby and only ranked lobby, found at http://tenhou.net/0/. Opponents are always available and you can rank up. http://tenhou.net/0/?L#### where #### is 4 numbers is used to access the unranked lobbies. You can use any of the 9999 ones, but most have no players. 8000 is a semi-official unranked lobby that has a lot of players. You might want to try playing real players there first. 7447 is used by various non-Japanese communities. It is often empty, but sometimes has a bunch of players from certain websites clashing.

L0000 has 4 sublobbies. Those are the 4 tabs directly above the grid of play buttons that say 一般 (general/Ippan), 上級(Dan/Joukyuu), 特上(Upperdan/Tokujou) and 鳳凰(Phoenix/Houou). The higher your rank, the higher you are allowed to play in. Dan requires 1kyu, Upperdan requires 4dan and R1800, and Phoenix requires 7dan and R2000 (and paying). It's recommended to play in the highest lobby possible, since that gets you better opponents, and you get more ranking points for 1st/2nd place.

In the default mode, you are allowed 5 seconds per turn and call oppoturnity, and 10 seconds extra time per hand. You can see the 5+10 timer go down if you spend more than a second to decide. Fast mode has less time than this, of course. If you run out of time, the game automatically discards the rightmost tile in your hand (the tile you just drew unless you just called chi or pon), or ignores the call oppoturnity, or discards one of the legal tiles to discard if you called riichi but didn't discard yet.

If the connection falls, the player becomes a tsumogiri bot like the computer opponents from Test Play. They discard everything they draw, and cannot call or win. If the player reconnects, they can continue playing. If the player stays disconnected, the game will finish normally, and the disconnected player will be ranked based on their placement (usually, but not always, last).

Because the computer opponents are tsumogiri bots, they play faster than actual people! Especially in unranked lobbies and the lowest ranked sublobby, players are much slower.

I've mentioned "sublobby" two times now. Those are the 4 tabs directly above the grid of play buttons that say 一般 (general/Ippan), 上級(Dan/Joukyuu), 特上(Upperdan/Tokujou) and 鳳凰(Phoenix/Houou). The higher your rank, the higher you are allowed to play in. Dan requires 1kyu, Upperdan requires 4dan and R1800, and Phoenix requires 7dan and R2000 (and paying). It's recommended to play in the highest lobby possible, since that gets you better opponents, and you get more ranking points for 1st/2nd place.

There's two ranking systems: Kyu/Dan and Rate. Rate is simpler: it always depends directly on your placement, and the rate of your opponents. The fewer games you have played, the faster your rate moves. Kyu/Dan is more complicated. At the Kyu levels, the only thing that matters is getting 1st. As you reach Dan levels, you will lose points for 4th places. It becomes very important to avoid 4th. In the Dan and higher lobbies, you get some points for getting 2nd, although 1st is still the main way of getting points. Note that all ranking depends on placement; it doesn't matter if you win with 30000 or 100000 points.

During games, there's 3 big buttons and 2 small ones in the bottom right corner. From left, the big buttons do the following: "Autowin" (so you don't have to press the ron or tsumo button), "Tsumogiri everything" (use this if you have to run a quick errand, and don't want to bother your opponents) and "Don't chi/pon/open kan" (to make the game go faster if you know you don't want to call).

Tenhou is a long struggle for the highest ranks and lobbies, and improving your skill. Keep aiming higher, and don't give up!

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by or2az » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:50 pm

Thanks for taking the time to put together a rather good explanation of tenhou. I have been to arcturus but was not aware of that osamuko SEX thing by xkime.
I played a few practice test games (using NO NAME) in Tonpuusen Ari Aka, as you suggested, and I have to admit, having only 5 seconds for every turn was a humbling eye-opening experience.
It was something that I wasn't used to at all and was totally unprepared for. Most of the things that I have learned over the past year, which I thought at least made me a half-way decent player, I found that I really wasn't able to put into practice to the best of my ability.
Now even though the computer opponents are tsumogiri bots, as you mentioned, I tried to play as if they were trying to win, and I had to get there first, and not have the game end in a draw. I succeeded a few times but I wasn't very comfortable doing it. Trying to throw safe tiles by looking at discards, trying to see if under certain conditions, a shanpon wait might be better than a ryanmen wait, trying to make the right discard to avoid furiten in a chinitsu, trying to make the right choice for riichi (since the tiles are not highlighted), these are just a few in a list of things that take a little time for me, and mine was running out, fast.
Now I'm not discouraged by this. I still feel that in a friendly sit-down game with real humans and real tiles, (if I'm ever able to find one), that I would be able to hold my own. I just have to find a way to BEAT THE CLOCK!
(I guess I just need more practice. I tried timing myself in Backgammon, which is the only other game I play, and I had no problem, probably because I've been playing it most of my life, even with real people.)

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by Gnom » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:23 pm

I think you'll find time is not that much of a problem after a few games. You're just not used to it, but when you have no choice but to play fast your brain will incorporate some stuff and it will become the normal way to play. If you already know the mechanism, gaining speed won't be so hard. The same goes for the highlight of tiles and the various help you can get in other games, it's just help but you'll learn to do without. Anyway, best of luck, playing against real opponents with limited time is a big step-up and should improve your play greatly!

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by or2az » Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:28 pm

Thanks. I sure hope so. Not to be negative, but I have one last question. Take this hand. You draw the 3m and are going to riichi. There are 4 possible discards (the 2,3,6 and 7 dot).
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Since the tiles would not be highlighted, I would have to be able to see that, or figure it out. Then I can decide what the best wait is by checking the hands and the discard pools of my opponents just like in a WWYD, hit the riichi button, and click on a discard tile. How can I do all of that in 5 seconds?

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by Iapetus » Sat Jan 03, 2015 6:50 pm

You have more time than 5 seconds. Even before drawing 3m, you can know that you are iishanten and what tiles take you to tenpai. You know what the shapes in your hand are, because you built them beforehand. That lets you know how good your wait is at best. You can know your hand's value, and you can see the overall situation with the points and opponent's hands. You can know beforehand that if you draw the 3m, you are going to discard 3p and riichi.

From the start of the hand, you know the point situation. If you are first with a good lead / in the endgame, you know riichi is a bad move (unless you have no yaku and 2nd place is close). If you are last, you know you have to riichi basically everything. If the situation is nothing special, you know you can riichi a hand, unless it's garbage or it's mediocre and someone else is attacking hard.

As the enemies make their moves, you can see when danger is coming. When a riichi is declared or someone calls with honitsu, multiple dora etc. you turn on the defensive. If you see multiple of your winning tiles dropped, you know that your hand is becoming weaker.

(Also, I've played enough Tenhou and Bamboo to tell in a second that that's a 3p discard riichi in the normal situation, even without having played the game)

You're in a bit of an unfortunate spot, having a lot of knowledge about strategy but no ability to play fast. When I was learning to play fast in tenhou, I was a beginner in strategy, and would hit the riichi button immediately, then sometimes get stuck on what tile to discard after that. I didn't care about such things as "maybe not declaring riichi".

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by Gnom » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:08 am

Iapetius said so but I'll emphasize: what you'll learn to do is anticipate. Instead of pickin up a tile and thinking about your discard, you'll think about what pickup would be good for you and what you would discard for each of these, while your opponents are playing. At first you should feel your brain heat up a bit and then it'll become normal.

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by or2az » Sun Jan 04, 2015 6:13 pm

Thanks guys. Understood. Almost got this sorted out. One more thing, I hope. I can't seem to find this option on the main log-in screen anymore.
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8000 is a semi-official unranked lobby that has a lot of players. You might want to try playing real players there first. 7447 is used by various non-Japanese communities.
When you choose your type of game, like hanchan tanyao red fives not fast, do you automatically get sent to 一般 in the L0000 room?
I can't seem to find a button that would go to L8000 or L7447, if I desired to. (maybe I shouldn't even bother with this)

I understand the difference between 0000 and 8000, ranked vs unranked, but a little unclear on 7447.
L0000 Official main lobby. Free ranked games against all players.
L7447 De-facto English speaking lobby (used by 4chan also).
L8000 Official non-dan lobby. Free unranked games against players who have no dan rank.

I could also use a bit more clarification on economy vs premium, for just regular playing.
I found these screens.
Compare:
http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewpos ... d=13629867
http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewpos ... d=11447747

Again, thanks for all your help, and patience.

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by Iapetus » Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:57 pm

By going to the http://tenhou.net/0/ URL, you are already in L0000. Then you click one of the buttons to queue up for a game in that room.

There's no way to go from L0000 to other lobbies by pressing buttons anymore. To go to another lobby, you must go to its URL. For example, 8000 is at http://tenhou.net/0/?L8000 and 7447 at http://tenhou.net/0/?L7447.

7447 is unranked, like 8000 and all other lobbies besides L000. (Although some people from Osamuko have done rankings for 7447 by themselves).

The first of your links shows economy, and the second shows premium. Premium is just prettier and has better sound effects. There's no gameplay difference, use whichever you like.

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by or2az » Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:44 pm

Thanks. That clears it up. I think I'll just stick to L0000. Maybe I'll bump into one of you guys there, someday, when and if I get any better, and faster.

Just to verify, the gray screen (first link above) is economy, and the blue screen (2nd link) is premium.
I had thought it was the other way around.

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by Ignatius » Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:07 pm

I only know this:
http://arcturus.su/tenhou/login.html

And I don´t know if this can help.
Life is as beautiful as you want it to be, but it´s only one. That´s why you must not get tired of it. Don´t care if you don´t say something that seems "important" because your mere existence is important for someone.

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by or2az » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:11 am

Thanks. That's one of the pages of the entire document referenced by Iapetus above.
You probably went there already, but http://arcturus.su/tenhou/ is the top source for translated Tenhou information, although not necessarily fully up to date.
It's a good document and very informative.
I also found some more recent updated information. (link is in the original post)
Iapetus filled in the missing pieces including a referenced document by xkime explaining the stats page. http://osamuko.com/SEX/
I got it covered now. I registered yesterday and it went smoothly. Now to play a game.

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by or2az » Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:22 am

OK, I played my first 2 games on tenhou.
!st game: not bad. played faster than I wanted to. Came in 2nd.
2nd game: started out smoothly. In the middle of the match, a message in a white box appeared in the middle of the screen with a yes/no selection.
Since it was in japanese, I had no idea what it said. I clicked yes (had to do something). The game paused. I waited about 5 minutes. It didn't restart. I logged out. I looked at the stat page and noticed that I received a 4th place finish. Does anyone have any clue as to what happened here? (next time I will click no)

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Re: getting started in tenhou

Post by Iapetus » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:44 am

The box says something like "You disconnected. Refresh? Y/N". You have to refresh to rejoin the game. If clicking Yes doesn't refresh, just refresh the browser manually. Then log back in as fast as possible so you can continue the game.

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