You might have noticed I like playing Riichi Mahjong. Good clients are so rare. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s just what I have tried before and/or regularly use. If you have other clients feel free to leave a comment.
Tenhou (天鳳) Desktop
Tenhou is still the go-to client and the one software every other Riichi Mahjong client is compared to. It has clients in Flash and HTML5 to run in any compatible browser and a native client for Windows. Although it is only available in Japanese there is an extension for Firefox and Chromium-based browsers that translates the HTML5 version to English and French. Tenhou is very playable even without a premium subscription.
All the information about the deal is in the center. The dora indicators are in the wall as you expect.
Final Fantasy XIV Online
While Final Fantasy XIV Online itself is not a Riichi Mahjong client, it has real multiplayer Riichi Mahjong to play in it: it’s called Doman Mahjong. You can find it in the Gold Saucer, which you can access quite soon in the story. So soon, that in fact if you only want to play Mahjong you can just get the free trial, which is unlimited in time.
Since Final Fantasy XIV Online is a multilingual MMO even the Mahjong game is translated to several languages. And I think it’s the most beginner friendly client.
You cannot see the wall. Instead, you see the remaining tile count in the center. In the top right corner, you see the information about the current deal and the doras. Note you really see the doras, not the indicators like you would see in a real-life game.
In the bottom right corner, you have hints: it tells you what to discard to best tile efficiency. Then, near the end of a deal or after somebody calls Riichi there are the Dangerous Tile Markers: red means very dangerous, orange dangerous etc. Safe tiles are not marked.
Called tiles are not removed, instead, they become darkened “ghost tiles”.
Square Enix has their own tileset — Doman. I think it looks neat. I’d buy it if it was a good set that were available to buy, but it was only given away in a niconico raffle for Japanese only. It features Cactuar for souzu and Namazu for pinzu and stylized Roman Numerals for manzu. But unfortunately, those are not without problems: for people who can read Japanese those stylized numbers look like real characters resulting in some confusion. OK, it is obvious when you see them in the sorted with other manzu, but when you encounter them in isolation you get this: “no man? fu man?” referring to the strange looking 1 man and 7 man respectively. Good thing you can simply switch the tileset to traditional in the Gold Saucer options.
All in all, I think Square Enix has done a great job of making Riichi Mahjong accessible to new players.
SEGA NET Mahjong MJ (セガNET麻雀 MJ)
SEGA NET Mahjong MJ is another client I commonly use. It is Japanese language only.
You cannot see the wall, but you can see dora indicator in the top left corner. Doras turn all golden. All information about the current deal is in the center. I especially like the fact you can discard tiles using the keyboard. The default game rules are quick games. Although those can be changed.
If you’re like me you think: “With Riichi so big, there certainly must be an open source client somewhere…” I found OpenRiichi. One the first look it seems decent. I do quite like how it looks. But looking at it more you can see it has very major flaws.
While in other clients I discussed till now you can easily see what the current deal, e. g., East — 4, this client does not properly display it. You might assume you can infer the deal from the position of the dealer in relation to the chicha marker on the table. But unfortunately, that marker moves with the dealer making it impossible to infer the current deal from just looking at the table. While I would add that as an issue on the GitHub project, it seems (as of March 2019) that project is abandoned.
Tenhou (天鳳) Mobile
Of course, Tenhou runs on mobile. Basically, it’s just the HTML5 client packaged into an app. Since extensions don’t run on mobile you are stuck with a Japanese interface.
SEGA NET Mahjong MJ (セガNET麻雀 MJ)
SEGA NET Mahjong MJ also has apps for mobiles.
Minna no Mahjong (みんなの麻雀)
Minna no Mahjong used to be good single player client.
It only has a Japanese interface. It has good AI players. It looks great. So why do I hate it? If you want to play more than 3 hanchan per day you have to pay. I can’t read Japanese. But interpreting the UI after the limiting update it doesn’t look like I just buy premium once and play whenever I want. It looks more like buying a recharge for freemium mobile games.
R is not released yet. I will post an update on this. Eventually.