Classic Shanghai is a game of strategy, memory, and luck. Each game begins with 144 tiles, arranged in one of over a hundred different layouts.
The object is to remove all the tiles from the layout, one pair at a time. To remove a pair, the tiles must both match and be "free" at the same time. A tile is considered free if no other tile is on top of it and if it can slide out to the left, to the right, or in both directions. If a tile can only slide toward the top or the bottom of the layout, it is not free to be removed.
Classic Shanghai will challenge you for hours at a time. And you can make this even more challenging by turning on the timer option and playing against the clock, or by making your own tile set and layouts (see Customizing Layouts and Customizing Tile Sets).
There are two boxes on the screen that contain useful information: one shows you the name of the current game mode and the number of tiles left in the layout, and the other gives you useful hints and prompts and information about playing the game. If the timer option is on, you will see the clock ticking in the prompts box (instead of hints and information). While no score is kept in one-player Classic Shanghai, the screen will show you how many tiles still remain in the layout as you remove tile pairs. So, if you see Tiles: 32 on the screen, you'll know that there are still 32 tiles (sixteen pairs) to be removed.
If you reach a point when there are no
more moves available, you're stuck (which can happen to even the most skillful
player). The computer will let you know when this occurs and automatically offer
you four options:
- Shuffle the remaining tiles.
- Go Back One Move.
- Start Over from the beginning of the same game.
- Start a New Game with the tiles in a different arrangement.
Note: In some cases shuffling will not be available.
- Click the Shanghai button on the Title screen.
- To start from within another game, go to the Menu Bar, pull down the Games menu, and select Classic Shanghai.
- To change layouts or tile sets, go to the Menu Bar, or use keyboard shortcuts.
- To access another game, go to the Game menu and click on the game of your choice.
- For more explanation of Menu options, see Using the Menus.
- Tile: One playing piece,
modeled after an actual Mah-Jongg tile.
- Tile set: A full set of Mah-Jongg tiles, as used in Shanghai, comprises 144 tiles (not all Mah-Jongg players use this exact number of tiles when playing Mah-Jongg).
- Suits: As in playing cards, Mah-Jongg tiles can be broken down into four suits: Craks (Chinese characters) - numbered from 1 to 9; Dots - numbered from 1 to 9; Bams (Bamboo) - numbered from 1 to 9; and Honors - this broad category includes the four Winds, the Dragons, the Seasons, and Flowers.
- Special group: The Seasons and Flowers tiles are not identical to one another. There are four Seasons tiles (for the four seasons) and they are all considered to match one another in Shanghai gameplay, although they do not look identical.
- Remember that there are four of each tile. When removing a pair, remember that
an identical pair exists in the layout. Is it trapped by your removal of the first
pair? Choose wisely.
- Concentrate your efforts on long rows and tall stacks.
- Plan ahead as many moves as you can.
- If all four of a tile are available, remove them all to unclutter the field.
- Don't count on the computer to show you the best possible move; the computer only shows the first move it finds.
- Identify as many matching pairs as possible. Check for tiles that need to be unblocked.
- Beware of triples (three matching free tiles); choose carefully which pair you remove. Leave the one that's blocking the least important tiles.
- Concentrate on removing pairs that will unblock the most tiles.