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paul forsdick (Pondpaul)
Master Solitaire Player
Username: Pondpaul

Post Number: 288
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Sunday, December 18, 2005 - 11:57 am:   

hi I find that i have played Formosa, 5 and buried seven 100 times each without winning once

these are my missing three as all the rest are won
any clues to these 3

Gregg Seelhoff (Seelhoff)
Master Solitaire Player
Username: Seelhoff

Post Number: 210
Registered: 1-2003
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 12:37 am:   

>hi I find that i have played Formosa, 5 and buried seven 100 times each without winning once

Judging by own personal statistics (based on average solution times), '5' is toward the harder end of the scale, with a large variation in times, while 'Buried Seven' is somewhere around the middle, with considerably less variation in solution times.

The 'Formosa' layout is the hardest layout in Pretty Good MahJongg, bar none. (I have solved the first two games in climb mode, but it took nearly an hour and a half total to do so.)

>any clues to these 3

By default, PGMJ tile matching games are all guaranteed to be winnable. If there is an asterisk (*) next to the game number on the status bar, then that game is winnable. (Look for a check mark next to the 'Options|Winnable' menu option to confirm that new games will be winnable.)

Assuming that the game is winnable, the trick is to try to remove tiles that block other tiles, generally starting with the topmost tiles. I use 'Undo' frequently, and when I get the 'No Moves' dialog box, I always select 'Undo', sometimes then using the 'Multiple Undo' to revert back to the last pair matching one of the tiles that was stuck, trying a different approach the next time.

The 'Hint' function can be very useful to identify tile matches which remove priority tiles, such as those on the highest level.

The above tips are general and apply to any PGMJ layout. Here are my specific hints for each of your problem games:

Formosa - this is somewhat similar to 'Standard' except that it uses 332 tiles (two full sets plus part of a third). The partial set means that there may be 8, 10, or 12 tiles of any particular type, which makes it more tricky. The top two tiles, plus the one on the far right, are the most important to remove (i.e., block the most other tiles). Generally, I try to remove the higher levels first, since all tiles not on the 'ground floor' block and often hide other tiles.

5 - Concentrate on reducing the three horizontal rows of tiles, from the top down. Rarely does this happen evenly; usually one row is much easier to do than the other, so work with that.

Buried Seven - The top middle tile should be removed as soon as possible, and then the top and bottom (horizontal) rows of tiles. There are spaces underneath some of the upper tiles, so some tiles are easier to release than it appears, and the 'Hint' function can help you find these difficult matches.

Of these three layouts, I think that 'Buried Seven' is the most fun (even though '5' is similar in concept to my own Block 'S' layout, which I quite enjoy).

I hope this helps. :-)

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