The "practice mode" is an option available for "Just for Fun" bot games
From the main menu, choose:
Play > Game Launchpad > Play with Bots > Just for Fun Game > Enable Practice Mode
The practice mode includes 3 tools to help you practice your game:
- Hand Suggestions - the “Give-Yourself-A-Hand” tool offers hand suggestions throughout the game
- Hand Identification - a list of all possible hands being played by your competitors
- Discard Counter - this helps you keep track of the number of tiles discarded, by grouping them and also including those used in exposures (check the box to include these)
Since these tools give the player an unfair advantage, we've limited their use to the "Just for Fun" bot games (as these games do not count towards ratings and stats).
The practice mode will prove extremely helpful for all levels of player, beginner to advanced. New players, will love having the ability to take their time and work through the fundamentals of picking an appropriate hand. The hand identification tool is fantastic for anyone wishing to strengthen their defensive play skills. Adding to this, players can also view the discards grouped by tiles, enabling them to have greater clarity regarding tile availability.
Seasoned players will also greatly benefit from having the opportunity to practice their hand selection skills. It’s also the perfect way to get to grips with each new NMJL card, when all hands are unfamiliar.
The hand suggestion and discard counter tools require quite a bit of space, so you can only see one at a time in the game. Toggle between them using the button on the bottom left.
The “Give-Yourself-A-Hand” tool suggests 5 possible hands based on your rack (and exposures, if any). These are displayed In the box, to the left or middle of the screen. You'll be shown the hand pattern (as depicted on the NMJL card), the section and line on the card, and the number of tiles you have towards Mah Jongg.
Clicking on a hand in the tool will cause it to be displayed on the screen. Tiles that match those in your rack will be highlighted. It also highlights the appropriate tiles in your rack for the chosen hand, and sorts your tiles appropriately.
Note that this tool is not just based on tile count. That would be too simplistic and would result in poor recommendations in most cases. Instead, it takes into account the relative difficulty of getting singles/pairs, concealed hands, how close you are to pungs, kongs etc. That being said, it's not as sophisticated as the algorithms used by the bots (since they consider many additional factors), but it will be able to guide you in the right direction and highlight hands you may not otherwise have considered.
As soon as a bot exposes tiles, you can now click on the “hand” icon below the bot’s name (or click on the bot’s picture) and a list of all potential hands being played will be revealed. This list will update with each subsequent exposure and will also show potential hands that are no longer viable. These will be marked as “dead” in the list (i.e. the hand is no longer achievable, based on tiles discarded or exposed by other players). So, you’ll easily be able to track where each of your competitors is heading!
We recommend challenging yourself to identify all matching hands prior to taking a peek at the list! You might be surprised by how many potential hands you miss initially.
To see the discards in the practice mode, from the Give-Yourself-A-Hand view, click the "See discard counter" button.
In practice mode, the discards are grouped and displayed with a counter (instead of being displayed chronologically). The counter background will change color based on the number of discards for that tile (green: no tiles out, orange: some tiles are out, red: all tiles are out).
By default, it will only count discards, but you can check the box "Include exposures in counts" to also include exposed tiles. This option is useful when trying to determine how many of a given tile are still available overall.
Clicking on any particular tile in the counter will display details of who discarded that tile and how many and also the number exposed (if you have the “exposures” box checked). This will also enable you to challenge your memory regarding discards and then check your recall.