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FAQ/Strategy Guide by barticle

Version: 1.00 | Updated: 01/11/11

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| 1 || 5 || 0 || 0 |  | D || S |  | S || P || I || R || I || T || S |   VOL. 1
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 | | \ / | ||  / _ \  || | | | | || (_   _) ||  / _ \  || | \ | | || |  ___) ||
 | |  V  | || | |_| | || | |_| | ||   | |   || | | | | || |  \| | || | |     ||
 | |     | || |  _  | || |  _  | ||   | |   || | | | | || |     | || | |  _  ||
 | | |V| | || | | | | || | | | | ||  _| |   || | |_| | || | |\  | || | |_| | ||
 | |_| |_| || |_| |_| || |_| |_| || (___/   ||  \___/  || |_| \_| || |_____| ||
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.-------------------------.----------------------------------------------------.
|     1500 DS Spirits     |   .contents.    05 CHALLENGE MODE 06 SCORING QUIZ  |
|    Volume 1: Mahjong    |                    o Level 1      07 INFORMATION   |
|        Game Guide       | 01 INTRODUCTION    o Level 2      08 DOWNLOAD PLAY |
|      [Version 1.00]     | 02 FEATURE LIST    o Level 3      09 RULE OPTIONS  |
| Barticle at hotmail.com | 03 MAIN MENU       o Level 4      10 CONTACT       |
|     11 January 2011     | 04 FREE PLAY       o Level 5      11 THANKS        |
'-------------------------'----------------------------------------------------'

------< INTRODUCTION >-------------------------------------------- [Section 01]

This is a guide to the 2007 Japanese Nintendo DS game "1500 DS Spirits Vol. 1*
Mahjong" published by Tasuke - and not to be confused with the similarly named
"Simple 1500 Series Volume 1: The Mahjong" also on the DS! It seems that mahjong
is so big in Japan that whenever a games company starts a new budget range the
first title always has to be a mahjong one. To save on typing I'll be referring
to the game here simply as "1500 Mahjong".

I've tried to use both Japanese and the equivalent English mahjong terminology
throughout this guide, in most cases giving the oriental term first and the
English version afterwards in brackets. I know that some purists will object to
my use of the terms Chow, Pung and Kong when referring to Japanese mahjong but
these are the words I learnt from my first mahjong game and they've been pretty
much standard in English texts on mahjong for around ninety years so I'm quite
comfortable with their use here.

Obviously if you can read Japanese you'll be able to read the instruction manual
and the menus in the game so this guide is aimed primarily at English speakers.
You shouldn't be daunted by the Japanese text as there are only a few short
menus and options pages. The layout of these is mirrored in this guide so you
should be able to find your way around the game without any difficulty.

To limit the length of this document I've decided to omit full details of the
rules and equipment of mahjong on the assumption that anyone buying this game
will probably already be familiar with them. If you are new to the game, or you
play a version other than the modern Japanese "Riichi" rules that appear in this
game, then you might like to read my complete guide to the terminology and rules
of Japanese mahjong. It's available as a 74-page, illustrated, linked PDF and
can be accessed from the United States Pro Mahjong League download page.

  http://www.uspml.com/site/downloads.htm  (Barticle's Japanese Mahjong Guide)

This guide is designed to be viewed using a monospaced (non-proportional or
fixed-width) font, preferably Courier New. Some sections of the document will
display incorrectly if you are using a proportional font like Times New Roman.

*If you enjoy this game then look out for Volume 9 in the 1500 DS Spirits range
which is Futari-Uchi (two-player) Mahjong. Judging by screenshots online, all
the games in this series feature the same characters and a similar main menu.

------< FEATURE LIST >-------------------------------------------- [Section 02]

Since it can be difficult to find any detailed information in English about the
content of a foreign game I like to include a quick description of the gameplay
features when I write a guide for a Japanese game - so here it is!

o Free Play mode with fourteen customisable rule options (see Section 09)

o Challenge mode with fifteen "missions" (see Section 05)

o supports local Download Play for up to four players but no online play

o modern Japanese mahjong rules including Riichi, Dora and red fives

o no Dora, Tenpai, Tsumo or Furiten alerts 

o no wait or Tsumogiri indicators

o poor manual - slender and no furigana

o no statistical log, rankings or gameplay options

o nice in-game presentation

o budget price

o Japanese language only

------< MAIN MENU >----------------------------------------------- [Section 03]

Load up the cartridge and you'll get some funny-looking cartoon characters who
expect you to pick one of two options. The one on the left is for Single Play
(i.e. the single-player modes) while that on the right is for Download Play (see
Section 08). As you might expect, you can make your selection by either tapping
on the screen or by picking an option with the d-pad and pressing A to confirm.

     1) Single Play                        2) Download Play

(You can also tap the yellow bar below or press X to toggle between Normal mode
(yellow text) and Silhouette mode (blue text). In Silhouette mode all the game
characters will be depicted as solid blocks of colour - blue for boys and pink
for girls. This seems an odd option to include; I can only assume it's something
to do with religions that forbid the depiction of graven images...?)

I'll be focusing on the single-player game in this guide so select the weird
chick thing on the left* and you'll get the Mode Select menu with four options
presented to you in the four quarters of the touchscreen as follows:

     1) Free Play (see Section 04)         2) Challenge (see Section 05)  

     3) Scoring Quiz  (see Section 06)     4) Information (see Section 07)

(On this screen and pretty much every menu screen throughout the game you can
press B to skip back to the previous one.)

That's all there is to it... there are no config options or player stats. Each
match is played as a one-off and there's no "career mode" but the game will at
least track your progress through the Challenge missions and save your highest
score on the quiz and your rule preferences.

*The chick-type creature is named Tasuke - the name of the company that makes
1500 Mahjong - and is one of the few non-human playable characters in the game.

------< FREE PLAY >----------------------------------------------- [Section 04]

The first option off the main menu takes you to the Free Play mode where you can
play a normal match against three computer-controlled characters.

You'll get the Character Select screen first where you need to pick a character
for yourself first (MAN) and then for your three computer opponents (COM). As
you select your rivals you'll see that their mahjong ability is shown on the top
screen, ranging from level 1 to level 10. There are eighteen characters in the
game but two are locked initially - these are unlocked by beating Levels 3 and 5
of the Challenge mode (see next section).

After that you get the option to configure the rule-set for the match. Use the
d-pad up/down to select a rule and right/left to modify it, use the shoulder
buttons R/L to cycle through the four pages and A to confirm your selection. If
you're happy to play with the default settings just press A. The fourteen rule
options available in 1500 Mahjong are explained in Section 09 below.

The match begins and the seating positions of the four players are displayed in
the top screen. An orange round-wind marker shows the kanji character for the
current round-wind (east in the first round). Press the button or tap the screen
to roll the dice and the game will count counterclockwise around the table from
your seat to determine the player who will receive (and in real life retain) the
marker and be east/dealer in the first hand.

During play the top screen will show the seat-winds and discarded tiles of your
three opponents. You can press the Y button to toggle this with an alternate
view that shows the four characters' faces and scores.

The touchscreen has the following layout:
                       ______   ____________   _________
     hand counter --> |______| |____________| |_________|
                     .------.  _ _ _ _ _ _ _  |L|_|_|_|_| <-- Dora indicators
   tiles counter --> |      | |_|_|_|_|_|_|_| |_|_|_|_|_|
                     :------: |_|_|_|_|_|_|_|
     your points --> |      | |_|             <-- your discarded tiles
                     :------:
      Riichi and --> |      |
    Honba counters   '------' 
                     ------------------------------------
                       _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
       your hand -->  |_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|

The first box shows the number of the current hand of play using kanji, for
example Ton (east) San (three) Kyoku (hand) for the third normal hand of the
east round. The middle character will always be a number, using the same kanji
as the ones on the Manzu (Craks) suit.

The bar at the top of the centre just shows whose turn it is. It cycles between
Shimocha (a term referring to the player seated to your right), Toimen (the one
opposite), Kamicha (the one to your left) and Anata (you).

The grid of ten tiles at the top-right corner shows the indicators for the Dora
bonus tile/s. These represent five of the seven stacks in the Dead Wall - since
the other four tiles (two stacks of two) are only used as supplement tiles after
a Kong has been declared, there is no need for them to be shown. Normally only
the first tile - the indicator for the standard Omote Dora - is shown. The tiles
to its right are available as Kan Dora indicators (after a Kong is declared) and
the ones below represent the tiles on the lower row of the Dead Wall used as
Ura Dora indicators (after a player wins with Riichi).

There are three boxes on the left. The first one shows the number of tiles that
remain available for drawing in the Live Wall. When the counter reaches zero the
hand ends in an exhaustive draw, two large kanji appear on the top screen (they
say "Ryuukyoku") and the 3000-point No-ten Bappu settlement is made whereby the
player/s with Tenpai (ready) hands receive points from those without.

The second box simply displays your current points total.

The third box gives two numbers - on the left is the number of 100-point scoring
sticks currently on the table (these act as Honba counters added after a hand
ends in a draw or a dealer win and each adds 300 points to the payments for a
win) and on the right is the number of 1000-point Riichi sticks on the table*
(both from the current hand and any unclaimed from previous drawn hands).

The tiles you've discarded are shown in the centre of the screen. The discard
tiles are all displayed in rows of seven rather than the usual six so keep that
in mind if you use these to gauge how many tiles are remaining in play.

Your hand of tiles is shown below this (with any open sets made by calling tiles
from other players shown on the right) and at the bottom are some touchscreen
buttons that correspond to the available commands...

Press X to Jason. Sorry, wrong game! ;)

Press X to open the "action" pop-up. The game will not prompt you when you can
declare Riichi - you need to press X first then pick the option. The same thing
applies when you're in a position to declare either a win by Tsumo (on a self-
drawn tile) or a closed Kong set. It seems that pressing down on the d-pad has
the same effect as pressing X.

Press Y to toggle the top screen display (as described above).

Press B to cancel a pop-up and reject the command option/s there.

Although not shown on the screen, you can of course press A to accept a command
offered to you. The game will automatically give you a pop-up menu for any
action involving an opponent's discarded tile, i.e. when you take it by Chii,
Pon or Kan to complete an open set or by Ron to declare a win.

The following commands - all given in katakana script - can appear in the pop-up
menus. The top option will always be "kyanseru" (cancel).

  -----
  __|__  _____  CHII
    |           - call Chow (steal a discard tile to complete a Chow set)
   /

  __|__o  \
    |        /  PON
  / | \     /   - call Pung (steal a discard tile to complete a Pung set)
   .'      /

  _|___   \
   |   |     /  KAN
   |   |    /   - call Kong (steal a discard tile to make a Kong set)
  /    |   /    - declare a Kong using a self-drawn tile**

  |  |        -----
  |  |  ____  __|__  RIICHI
    /           |    - declare Riichi (make a ready bet)**
   /           /

  .-----.  \  
  |     |     /  RON
  |     |    /   - declare Ron (announce a win on an opponent's discarded tile)
  |_____|   /

  \\  /  -------
     /      |     TSUMO
    /     --+--   - declare Tsumo (announce a win on a self-drawn tile)**
   /        |__  

  \/         \       |      | |
  /\/  _|__     /  --+--.   | |    KYANSERU
   /\   | _)   /     |      | | /  - literally "cancel" (dismiss the pop-up)
     \  |     /      '--   \| |/

   /    |   ---- "  ----.   |  |        -----
  /|  __|__    /      \/    |  |  ____  __|__  INAZUMA RIICHI 
   |    |     /\       \      /           |    - declare "lightning" Riichi***
   |   /     /  \            /           /

You can also press the Start button to pause the game. This will show the button
functions on the top screen and the following options on the touchscreen:

                           1) Help (see Section 07)

                  2) Return to Game         3) Rules Selection

                  4) Character Selection    5) Title Screen

          (NB options 3, 4 and 5 will all quit the current match!)

When a player declares a win the game will switch to the score screens. The four
players' scores (and changes to them) are shown on the top screen. Meanwhile on
the touchscreen it displays (from top to bottom) the hand with the winning tile
on the right, all active Dora bonus tile/s (the actual Dora now, not indicators)
and the Yaku (scoring elements) that were present. Below that on the left will
be either the Fu (minipoints) and Han (doubles) or the limit applied (Mangan,
Haneman, etc) and on the right the flat value of the hand (not including any
additions for Riichi sticks or Honba).

Of course this will all be in Japanese but the scoring should be obvious and if
you're familiar with the rules then it should be clear which Yaku are present
and which limit is applied. Otherwise you can use my PDF guide (see Section 01)
which gives translations for all this stuff - and a whole lot more besides. B)

Yakuhai (a Pung of dragons, round-wind or seat-wind) is shown as Fanpai, a Pung
of double wind (when round-wind and seat-wind coincide) is shown as Renfonpai
and Menzen Tsumo is given as Tsumo (spelt in kanji, not kana as above). Multiple
occurrences of Fanpai are listed only once.

After completing a match in Free Play you're given five blue buttons offering
the following options:

                          1. Play again with same settings

                          2. Rule Selection

                          3. Character Selection

                          4. Mode Selection

                          5. Title Screen

*It should be noted that the Riichi stick for any player that declares Riichi
will not be shown above their discards on the top screen, however you can still
tell who "reached" by looking for the perpendicular discard tile.

**Remember you will not be prompted for any of these three actions. You need to
press the X button in order to receive the necessary pop-up menu.

***See option 4.2 in Section 09 for more on Inazuma Riichi.

------< CHALLENGE MODE >------------------------------------------ [Section 05]

For me the most interesting part of 1500 Mahjong is the single-player Challenge
mode (a.k.a. "The Mahjang [sic] Mission") which can be accessed from the top-
right option on the main menu for single-player. It consists of fifteen missions
across five levels and in each one you play with a fixed rule-set against three
computer-controlled opponents and you must achieve the specified objective/s.

Missions (and levels) you have completed are marked "Clear" (in English).

You are always represented as a mysterious veiled figure holding a fan!

If you pause during a mission you can press X to review your current goal/s.

After each mission you get three blue buttons as follows:

                             1) Mission Selection

                             2) Mode Selection

                             3) Return to Title Screen

The objectives for each mission are stated and discussed below...

= Level 1 =

Nothing too taxing here. I beat all three missions on my first attempt at each
even though I was playing fairly recklessly.

o Mission 1 (two-round match)

  Objective: Take second place or better.

  A nice simple one to warm you up! Only one objective for the first mission.

o Mission 2 (two-round match)

  Objectives: Score at least one Ron win off the player seated to your left.

              Take second place or better.

  When you're targeting the guy to your left remember that passing-up a win off 
  another player's discard (Ron) after you've declared Riichi will leave you
  permanently in a Furiten state (unable to call Ron) for the remainder of that
  hand. Missing a win on a self-drawn tile (Tsumo) will also make you Furiten
  but at least then you have the option of changing your wait to escape it.

  More so than ever, it's a good idea on this mission to milk your turns as east
  by going out with the cheapest possible hand so that you can stay on as dealer
  in consecutive hands. Also generally aim for cheap hands. The more hands you
  win the more likely you'll get a direct-hit on your target.

o Mission 3 (two-round match)

  Objectives: Achieve a score of at least 30,000 points.

              Take second place or better.

  The starting score is the standard 25,000 pts so you only need to make an
  overall profit of 5000 above that, and you don't even need to win the match.

Clearing all three missions at Level 1 unlocks option 3.4 - tile back colour -
for Free Play mode (see Section 09).

= Level 2 =

I beat these three on my first attempt too but a little more skill (okay, and/or
luck) is required, especially in missions 5 and 6. I had a lot of luck! *8^)

o Mission 4 (one-round match)

  Objectives: You must play with a two-Han minimum restriction.

              Take second place or better.

  Japanese mahjong is usually played with an Ii-Han Shibari (literally a one-Han
  "binding") which means that a hand must be worth at least one Han (double) in
  order for the player to declare a win with it; specifically only Han from Yaku
  (scoring elements like Yakuhai, Riichi, Pinfu, etc) are counted - any Han from
  Dora bonus tiles are not counted towards meeting the requirement. The Ryan Han
  Shibari (a conditional two-Han minimum) is an optional rule sometimes used in
  Japanese mahjong whereby a hand must be worth at least two Han (again Dora are
  not considered) in order to win with it. Usually this restriction (intended to
  prevent the dealer from abusing continuances with cheap hands) takes effect
  only when the Honba counter reaches five (i.e. when five consecutive hands
  resulted in either a win by the dealer or a draw) but in this mission the rule
  applies at all times, and only to you! The other players are exempt.

  The match is played over only a single wind-round so you don't have so long to
  score points but then conversely neither do your opponents. Obviously you need
  to avoid the classic uber-cheap Yakuhai-only hand as this only yields one Han.
  You should do okay if you stick to "standard" Japanese mahjong strategy - i.e.
  keep your hand closed and aim for Pinfu combined with Riichi (for two Han).

o Mission 5 (one-round match)

  Objectives: Win with a hand worth Mangan (5 Han) or better.

              Take second place or better.

  Again standard play should serve you well, although you'll need more luck with
  your draws this time. Pinfu plus Riichi is easy enough but that only gives two
  Han so you'll need at least another three more from Tanyao (All Simples), Dora
  bonuses, Menzen Tsumo (Concealed Self-Draw), Iipeikou (Pure Double Chow) or
  perhaps San Shoku (Mixed Triple Chow). Or maybe a nice Honitsu (Half-Flush)
  with Yakuhai and Dora. It's all about combining Yaku and/or Dora.

  This is another one-round match so you don't have much time.

  I got Tenpai (ready) in the very first hand with Chinitsu (Full Flush) but one
  of the bots beat me to the win. However I staged a successful comeback in the
  third hand with the classic "Men-tan-pin" combo plus one red five to give me
  the Mangan I needed (I was east too so I got a handy 12,000 pts for it).

o Mission 6 (two-round match)

  Objectives: Get at least two Tsumo (self-draw) wins.

              Take second place or better.

  The important thing here is to aim to make a ready hand as quickly as possible
  and with an efficient wait, preferably a two-sided Ryanmen wait (for example a
  a _56_ element waiting on either a 4 or a 7) or perhaps even three-sided. This
  will maximise your potential for drawing a winning tile.

  The game will probably offer you Ron wins first but you should reject these
  (unless you really need the points to make second place). As noted above, you
  will make yourself Furiten if you pass up a Ron win after reaching but since
  it's a Tsumo win you need anyway this is no big deal. Riichi will help towards
  keeping your score up and you have the potential for both Ippatsu ("one-shot"
  win) and Ura Dora bonuses for extra doubles.

  Keep in mind that the Tsumo wins do not need to be *Menzen* Tsumo wins. As
  long as your hand has guaranteed Yaku (to meet the one-Han minimum) you can
  count Tsumo wins in an open hand.

  I was beginning to give up hope on my attempt but I hit two Tsumo wins in the
  south round (and they were both open ones with Yakuhai and a Ryanmen wait). I
  was in third place though after pushing earlier and dealing into a Haneman (6
  or 7 Han) hand from one of my opponents... but in very dramatic style I made a
  further 7700 points with Yakuhai, two red fives and Houtei (Last-Tile Ron) -
  narrowly stealing second place on the very last tile of the final hand! :D

Clearing all three missions at Level 2 unlocks option 4.2 - "lightning" Riichi -
for Free Play mode (see Section 09).

= Level 3 =

Of these three I only passed Mission 7 on my first attempt. Mission 8 took maybe
ten tries and Mission 9 perhaps five or six.

o Mission 7 (one-round match)

  Objectives: Don't deal into an opponent's Ron win.

              Take first place.

  If another player takes one of your discarded tiles to declare a win then the
  match will abort and it's an insta-fail on the mission. So, play to win each
  hand (you'll need to get enough points to win the match and you only have one
  round in which to do it) but you should fold (switch to purely defensive play)
  if one of your opponents calls Riichi.

o Mission 8 (one-round match)

  Objectives: Declare a win with Chii-Toitsu (Seven Pairs) at least once.

              Take second place or better.

  Pairs are quite hard to make - since there are only four copies of each tile
  in a mahjong set, for any given individual tile in your hand there will never
  be more than three duplicates available that would form a pair with it.

  Do what little you can to maximise your chances. If you see one of the other
  players discard a tile that matches one in your hand then discard yours - with
  one now unavailable there are only two possible matches. Try to avoid "middle
  tiles" like 4, 5 and 6 because these are more useful and your opponents will
  be less likely to drop one for you to Ron. Obviously when you have a pair you
  must reject any offers to call Pon on a third and if you find yourself with a
  concealed Pung in your hand you should discard one of the three immediately so
  you can replace it with a different tile. Remember that you cannot include
  four identical tiles (an undeclared Kong) as two pairs in Chii-Toitsu. Also
  when your hand is Tenpai (ready) take care not to make yourself Furiten (don't
  leave yourself waiting on a tile you've already discarded).

  When I finally made the hand I did so with a nice Mangan - I had a pair of the
  Dora and got Houtei (Last-Tile Ron) again.

  Seven Pairs only occurs in around 2.5% of won hands (one in forty) in normal
  play so it's likely to take a little while to appear, although you should get
  a better percentage if you're focused on making it.

o Mission 9 (one-round match)

  Objectives: Make at least nine open sets using stolen discards.

              Take first place.

  It's time to play like a n00b, yeah! Call Pon or Chii at every opportunity,
  unless it's going to totally destroy your hand structure or worsen your wait.

  Remember your hand must have at least one Yaku (scoring element) and the two
  easiest ones are Tanyao (All Simples) and Yakuhai (Pung of dragons, seat-wind
  or round-wind) so hang onto your Simples and scoring Honours.

  Japanese mahjong is often played with Kuikae disallowed* - this means that, if
  you have a complete concealed set in your hand, you cannot steal an opponent's
  discard using two of the tiles from the set and then immediately discard the
  third. However 1500 Mahjong allows Kuikae so even if you've completed a set by
  using three self-drawn tiles you can still call to make an open set using two
  of those tiles and cut the leftover tile if you need to.

  The game's played over a single round so you might have as few as four hands
  in which to make nine open sets (so you'd need to make 2.25 calls on average
  per hand**). If you can get a few continuances as dealer though that will give
  you more opportunities and make it a little easier.

  If you're really living the n00b dream then go for a Hadakatanki wait - make
  four open sets leaving a single concealed tile as a Tanki (pair wait). All
  those calls will do good things to your average!

  I found that (unlike the previous mission!) the game seemed quite generous
  with pairs so start making those Pon Palaces. :D

  You need to place first in the match so in addition to making small points off
  your cheap hands you'll need to avoid losing them to someone else and have to
  hope that they don't make a big win... On one of my attempts Reika*** (the
  cute girl in the red biker jacket) got a Yakuman! She made Suu Ankou (Four
  Concealed Pungs). Despite that she remains my favourite. :)

Clearing all three missions at Level 3 unlocks the pink cartoon character named
Puri-Chan for Free Play mode.

*See chapter 23 of the Akagi manga for an entertaining example of Kuikae.

**Yes, I am a mathematical genius. B)

***Reika's name is spelt with two kanji characters that mean "beautiful flower".

= Level 4 =

Okay, these ones took a little longer, but the objectives are quite simple and
far from impossible. Might've taken me two or three hours in total.

o Mission 10 (two-round match)

  Objectives: Get three counters when east.

              Take first place.

  A "counter" (actually one of the dealer's 100-point scoring sticks) is placed
  on the table after each consecutive hand that resulted in either a draw or a
  win by the dealer; these denote the Honba count and an amount equal to this
  number multiplied by 300 pts is added to the value of any winning hand. 

  A Renchan (effectively an "extra" hand) is played with the same seat-winds (so
  the current dealer "stays on" as east) after any hand of play that fulfils the
  requirements specified in the rule-set. For this mission the rule settings
  state that the Renchan conditions are Tenpai which means that an extra hand is
  played if the dealer wins or if they have a Tenpai (ready) hand on a draw. In
  both cases a counter will be added to the table.

  The objective for this mission seems to be that you must earn three counters
  like this while playing as dealer (east). I thought you'd need to earn three
  Renchan (continuances) consecutively but I'm pretty sure when I cleared this
  mission I got only two in the first round and then one in the second - so I
  guess it's cumulative? I got the latter by winning a hand by Ron off a player
  who I'd already ground down to 500 pts so my win busted her and ended the game
  but - even though the continuance was not played - I still passed the mission.

  My advice is to go for quick/cheap wins as dealer or, if it looks like the
  hand will end in a draw, to at least make a ready hand, calling tiles by Pon
  or Chii if necessary. Also you could keep reloading the mission until you get
  allocated the east seat in the opening hand; if you don't get east, or another
  player beats you to the win, just quit out and start over!

o Mission 11 (one-round match)

  Objectives: Win a hand worth Baiman (8-10 Han) or better.

              Take first place.

  The requirement for this one is fairly simple (to explain at least), you just
  need to complete a winning hand with a total value of 8 Han (doubles) or more.

  As with most things in mahjong, this will require a balance of luck and skill,
  and also probably a combination of several Yaku and several Dora. The rule-set
  includes both Ippatsu ("one-shot" win) and Ura Dora (under-Dora) so declaring
  Riichi can be quite profitable. Also red fives are in play so use 'em if you
  get 'em! If you can make a flush then you'd only need another 2 or 3 Han.

  Quite frustratingly, I got a couple of Baiman while playing Mission 10 but you
  can only attempt one mission at a time so they didn't count towards this one!

  Eventually I got another Baiman, this time with Riichi, Ippatsu, Tanyao (All
  Simples), Pinfu, Iipeikou (Pure Double Chow), one Dora and two red fives. But
  then one of the bots went on to win the match! Grr.

  Luckily I got yet another Baiman hand just two or three games later, this time
  with Riichi, Ippatsu, Tanyao, a Pung of Dora and two red fives. That gave me a
  12,000 points lead and this time I held first place to the end of the round.

o Mission 12 (two-round match)

  Objective: Knock the player seated opposite below 10,100 points.

  At the conclusion of the match the guy sitting opposite you ("Dan Michael")
  must have a score of 10,000 pts or less. If you can score a direct-hit on him
  with a Ron win that's great but even Tsumo wins will pull him down a little.
  You should find though that the two girls will do a lot of the work. When I
  beat this mission I remember getting a dealer Mangan which took 4000 pts off
  each of the other players but most of the other scoring was done by the ladies
  (and fortunately on that occasion not so much by him). We actually got him
  down to zero by the end of the match. :D Good practice for Mission 13...

  If any of the computer-controlled characters declare Riichi then take care to
  avoid dealing into the hand by playing pure defence. If you deal into his hand
  then you'll be increasing his score rather than reducing it and if you get hit
  by Ron off one of the girls then you've lost a chance for them to Ron him.

  Don't rest on your proverbial laurels once Dan drops below the target. Until
  the match ends he can still make a comeback, and he has an annoying habit of
  getting Riichi Ippatsu wins just when you don't want him to. Even the 1500 or
  3000 pts of No-ten Bappu on a draw could be enough to put him back over 10k.

  You'll notice that this mission has only one objective. You don't need to get
  a certain position overall so, as long as you don't get busted before the goal
  is achieved, you don't really have to worry about scoring points yourself.

Clearing all three missions at Level 4 unlocks Level 5.

= Level 5 =

The Level 5 missions are locked until you've completed Level 4.

o Mission 13 (one-round match)

  Objective: Bust one of your opponents.

  For this one you're required to knock one of the computer players below zero,
  so it's a bit like Mission 12 except you have a free choice of target and they
  need to lose the whole 25k rather than 15k.

  It's not that uncommon for a player to get busted over the course of a Hanchan
  (a standard match of two wind-rounds) but the tricky thing here is that the
  game only gives you one round to do it in. It's gonna take something like two
  dealer Mangan (12k each) or three non-dealer Mangan (8k each) plus change, and
  those would need to be direct-hits too.

  If you happen to find yourself in a position where you can apply the Agari
  Yame rule (see 3.1 in Section 09) then pick option B to keep playing.

o Mission 14 (two-round match)

  Objectives: Don't call any of your opponents' discards.

              Take first place.

  This is a little like Mission 7 except this time you fail automatically if you
  try to steal a tile by Chii, Pon or Kan (you are however still permitted to
  use the Kan option to declare a concealed Kong). I think this mission is good
  training for playing in a Menzen (concealed) stylee.

  Unless you get really lucky with your tiles you'll probably need to avoid any
  Yaku that usually require calling, like Toi-Toi (All Pungs), Chinitsu (Full
  Flush), Honitsu (Half-Flush), Junchan (Pure Outside Hand) and even Yakuhai.

  Unless you happen to have enough pairs in your starting hand to attempt Chii-
  Toitsu (Seven Pairs), just keep the one required for your hand and break up
  any other lone pairs. Since your hand will be concealed you will always be
  able to use Riichi whenever you have a good/early wait and you can combine
  this with Pinfu (remembering that the pair in Pinfu cannot be made of dragons,
  seat-wind or round-wind), other Yaku, Dora bonus tiles and red fives.

  Although you're not permitted to call, the game will still give you the pop-up
  option as usual. You must resist the urge! Just keep cancelling it.

  Your biggest threat in this match is Isha Risa (?) - the blonde with glasses
  seated to your left. Her mahjong power on the character select screen is level
  10 and this manifests itself in quite frequent Riichi declarations.

o Mission 15 (two-round match)

  Objectives: You must play with a five-Han minimum restriction.

              Take first place.

  Cast your mind back to the halcyon days of Mission 4. This is like that except
  now you're playing with a Mangan minimum! You cannot declare a win with a hand
  worth less than 5 Han in total. Unlike the Ryan Han Shibari rule, however, you
  *are* permitted to count Han from Dora towards meeting this requirement.

  The game will actually allow you to Tsumo/Ron (and reach) with a sub-Mangan
  hand but the mission will then fail immediately afterwards so make sure you
  check the value of your hand before you commit.

  I think this final mission is also good training, this time encouraging you to
  build more valuable hands rather than going out with cheap ones. Make sure you
  have a good awareness of all the Yaku (scoring elements) and then combine as
  many as possible - or go for Chinitsu (Full Flush) since that's the only Yaku
  with a guaranteed minimum value of 5 Han.

  If you can get one big win and then play safe for the rest of the match you
  might be able to hold first place. I beat the mission with a 789 Chow, three
  Pungs of Honours and a pair of dragons which gave me Yakuhai twice, Junchan
  (Mixed Outside Hand) and Honitsu (Half-Flush) - a non-dealer Haneman. Straight
  after that I got Riichi, Pinfu, Menzen Tsumo and two Dora - a dealer Mangan.
  They gave me quite a comfortable lead and fortunately I was able to keep it.

Clearing all three missions at Level 5 unlocks the final character for Free Play
mode - a purple-skinned fellow named Tetsu - and now you can die happy.

------< SCORING QUIZ >-------------------------------------------- [Section 06]

The bottom-left (orange) option off the main menu launches a quiz mode in which
you are required to answer a series of twenty multiple-choice questions against
the clock. All the questions relate to the points value of mahjong hands, for
example "how many Fu (minipoints) are awarded for a Kanchan (centre wait)?",
"which of these hands has a higher value?" and "what's the score for this hand?"

After picking a character, you get the first question. There are usually either
three or four possible answers for each question and you can pick one by tapping
the screen or pressing the corresponding button: A, B, X or Y. The coloured bar
at the top of the screen is the countdown timer - it resets for each question.

A correct answer is indicated by a red O.* If you answer incorrectly you get a
blue X instead and the correct answer will be highlighted (very pale orange).

Your running total of points is shown at the bottom-right of the screen. This is
usually a random-looking number (like 3603) so I assume the number of points you
receive for any correct answer depends on how quickly you respond.

After the final question a summary screen shows how many questions you got
right (in red), the current high score (and the character that got it) and - at
the bottom - the total score you just achieved.

You cannot quit out of this mode during the quiz - there is no escape!

(okay, you can reset or power-off your DS if you really want to make it stop)

*The circle is the Japanese equivalent of a tick, hence the O and X buttons on
a Playstation joypad. In fact they're even the same colours there.

------< INFORMATION >--------------------------------------------- [Section 07]

The fourth and final part of single-player mode can be accessed from the bottom-
right (yellow) option off the main menu or by picking the Help option (the top
one) from the in-game pause menu.

Basically this explains the rules for scoring and lists all the permitted Yaku
(scoring elements) and Yakuman (limit hands) recognised by the game. The info is
displayed in the top screen and can be navigated via the menu on the touchscreen
- press R/L to skip sections and d-pad up/down to cycle through pages within a
section. Aside from that it's passive not interactive.

The content is as follows (working from left to right):

 1) Allocation of Fu (minipoints) [four pages]

 2) Score look-up tables for non-dealer [two pages] and dealer [two pages]

 3) Types of set [one page], set elements [one page] and waits [one page]

 4) 1-Han Yaku [four pages]

 5) 2-Han Yaku [four pages]

 6) 3-Han Yaku [one page]

 7) 6-Han Yaku [one page]

 8) Mangan Yaku (Renhou*) [one page]

 9) Yakuman [four pages]

10) Supplementary rules [two pages]

*Renhou (usually called something like "Human Win" in English) is awarded when a
player is Tenpai (ready) at the start of a hand and goes on to declare a Ron win
off a tile discarded by an opponent before the player has drawn their first tile
from the Live Wall. It is sometimes recognised as a Yakuman (limit hand) but if
not (as here) it's paid at the base limit of Mangan (8000 or 12000 points).

------< DOWNLOAD PLAY >------------------------------------------- [Section 08]

1500 Mahjong lets you play with two, three or four friends locally using just
the one cartridge (plus one DS each!) thanks to the miracle of Download Play.
I've not had the opportunity to try it but I assume it works the "normal" way.

Pick the (green) option on the right side of the title screen and then press A
to continue. You'll become the host* for the local game and your buddies should
now be able to connect to your DS using the Download Play option from the main
menu of their own consoles. They'll need to have wireless comms enabled too.

Your touchscreen will show how many of the four available seats are filled. The
dirty brown box shows your DS username at the top and the other players below.
When you can see everyone I guess you press A to continue and away you go...

*Interestingly on Japanese DS games the host is referred to as the Oya (parent)
and the other players are Ko (children) - the same terms are used in Japanese
mahjong to denote the dealer and non-dealers. 

------< RULE OPTIONS >-------------------------------------------- [Section 09]

The game has fourteen rule options which can be configured in Free Play mode.

The rules are spread over four pages. Use the shoulder buttons L/R to navigate
between pages and the d-pad to select and amend options. Press A to accept.

Options 3.4 and 4.2 are locked initially but can be unlocked by completing
Levels 1 and 2 respectively of Challenge mode (see Section 05).

Many of the options here use the following two words to indicate if it's used:

  __|___    | _
   _|___    |/ \   ARI
  / |/  \   |   |  denotes "existence" and describes a rule that's applied (on)
  \_/  _/   '  / 

  __/__  _   |
   /    |    |     NASHI
  /    _|_   |     means "without" and describes a rule that's not applied (off)
 /    (_|    |__.

An asterisk here indicates the default setting for each option. The defaults are
also the fixed rules applied in Challenge mode, with the exception of 3.3 (game
type) which could be one or two rounds depending on which mission you're on.

1.1  Name: Shoki Mochiten  (starting score)

  Options: 25,000 pts* / 27,000 pts / 30,000 pts

     Info: This is simply the number of points that each player holds at the
           start of the match.

           It's common for players to buy into a match with 30,000 pts and then,
           if they all start with either 25k or 27k, the difference (20k or 12k)
           forms a jackpot called the Oka which is paid to the match winner.
           This rule is not used in 1500 Mahjong however.

1.2  Name: Kuitan  (open Tanyao)

  Options: Ari* (on) / Nashi (off)

     Info: When Kuitan is Ari the game allows the scoring element Tanyao (All
           Simples) on an open hand.

1.3  Name: Pinzumo  (Pinfu Tsumo)

  Options: Ari* / Nashi

     Info: When Pinfu Tsumo is Ari you can claim the scoring element Pinfu on
           a Tsumo (self-draw) win. Pinfu is defined as a "no points" hand, with
           no Fu (minipoints) other than the basic 20 or 30 for going out. A
           Tsumo win is normally worth an extra two Fu but with this rule you
           waive the two Fu and take the extra Han (double) for Pinfu instead.

1.4  Name: Ippatsu  ("one-shot" win )

  Options: Ari* / Nashi

     Info: This simply turns on/off the Ippatsu scoring element.

2.1  Name: Dobon  (bankruptcy)

  Options: Ari* / Nashi

     Info: When Dobon is Ari the game ends if someone's score drops below zero.

           This rule is sometimes known as Buttobi, or Tobi for short.

2.2  Name: Ura Dora  (under-Dora)

  Options: Ari* / Nashi

     Info: The Ura Dora indicator is the tile under the standard Omote Dora
           indicator and is applied when someone wins with Riichi.

2.3  Name: Kan Dora  (Kong Dora)

  Options: Ari* / Nashi

     Info: An indicator tile for a Kan Dora is revealed on the top row of the
           Dead Wall each time someone declares a Kong.

           If both the Ura Dora and Kan Dora options are Ari then the game will
           also apply Kan Ura Dora using indicators on the bottom row of the
           Dead Wall beneath any active Kan Dora indicators.

2.4  Name: Aka Dora  (red fives)

  Options: Ari / Nashi*

     Info: When this option is in use the game will replace one 5 tile in each
           of the suits with a red version. Each red five tile in a winning hand
           gives one additional Han (double) just like a normal Dora tile.

3.1  Name: Agari Yame  (the "quit while you're ahead!" rule)

  Options: Ari* / Nashi

     Info: When Agari Yame is Ari, if the dealer (east) wins the final hand of 
           the match and is leading on points then they have the option to end
           the game early rather than risk losing in the Renchan (continuance)
           that would usually be played after a dealer win.

           When you find yourself in this position a question will appear on the
           screen. Pick the left option (A) to answer Hai (yes) and the match
           will end with you as the winner. Yay!

           You will only ever see this option in games that begin with a dice
           roll of 2, 6 or 10. In such matches the player to your right will be
           east in the first hand of each round and consequently, as the seat-
           winds rotate counterclockwise around the table, your turn/s as east
           will be in the final hand of the round/s.

3.2  Name: Renchan Jouken  (continuance conditions)

  Options: Tenpai* / No-ten

     Info: A Renchan is a continuance - an extra hand played without the seat-
           winds moving so the dealer "stays on". This is counted in addition to
           the standard four hands which make up a round.

           In 1500 Mahjong a continuance always occurs if either the dealer wins
           a hand or if the hand ends in an exhaustive draw in which the dealer
           has a Tenpai (ready) hand of tiles.

           With the No-ten option selected the dealer will also stay on even if
           they have an unready hand in a draw.

           So you can identify them, note that Tenpai is spelt with two kanji
           and No-ten (actually No-tenpai, literally "no Tenpai"!) has three.

3.3  Name: Gemu no Shurui  (game type)

  Options: Two rounds* / One round

     Info: The standard length for a game in modern Japanese Mahjong is two
           wind-rounds, although sometimes you will play for only one.

           The game calls the two-round match a Ton Nan Sen ("east south match")
           although this is also known as a Hanchan - meaning a "half-game" - 
           because the traditional game duration under the original classical
           Chinese rules is four rounds.

           The one-round option is given as Ton Puu Sen ("east wind match") but
           is sometimes referred to as a "quarter-game" for the same reason. 

3.4  Name: Pai Hai Iro (?)  (tile back colour)

  Options: Type A* / Type B / Type C

     Info: This option lets you specify the colour of the tile backs. Type A is
           light grey, Type B is butterscotch (bamboo) and Type C is dark grey.

           You can unlock this exciting option by clearing the three missions in
           Level 1 of Challenge mode (see Section 05).

4.1  Name: Kou Haipai Ken (?)  (power to make a favourable initial draw)

  Options: Nashi* / Ari

     Info: Compared to the English, that name looks a lot more concise when it's
           written in Japanese with just four characters...!

           When this option is applied you'll be asked a question at the start
           of each match. The game asks if you want to - well, cheat basically.

           Pick the left option (A) to answer Hai (yes) and the initial 13 or 14
           tiles you draw at the start of the first hand will be significantly
           better than average, for example the first time I used it I received
           1114447779 in one suit (along with three random tiles).

           You can only use this ability once per match. If you pick the right
           option (B) to answer Iie (no) then you'll get the same question again
           at the start of the second hand, etc - so effectively you can keep
           "snoozing" the option until you want to use it.

4.2  Name: Inazuma Riichi  ("lightning" Riichi)

  Options: Nashi* / Ari

     Info: With this rule enabled, when you have the option to declare Riichi
           you will receive the additional option for Inazuma Riichi!

           It seems that you can only use Inazuma Riichi once per match and it
           guarantees that you win on your next draw after reaching (if one of
           your winning tiles is available) and therefore you get the two extra
           Yaku of Ippatsu ("one-shot") and Menzen Tsumo (Concealed Self-Draw).
           You get a little lighting animation too.

           Declaring Inazuma Riichi costs 1000 pts just like standard Riichi and
           it doesn't seem to have any effect on your score aside from the two
           extra Han (doubles) for Ippatsu and Tsumo.

           You can unlock this option by clearing the three missions in Level 2
           of Challenge mode (see Section 05).

One further (and fixed) rule used in the game is Atama Hane ("head bump"). If
two players declare a Ron win on the same discard only the player nearest to the
discarder's right gets the win. I've only been playing 1500 Mahjong for a couple
of days and already I've seen this happen twice - neither time in my favour!

Also Kuikae is permitted in the game's rule-set (see Mission 9 in Section 05).

*This is the default option for the rule.

------< CONTACT >------------------------------------------------- [Section 10]

I welcome all feedback on this guide and any contributions you'd like to make.
I'm also happy to receive questions about this or any other mahjong game, or
about the rules and terminology of Japanese mahjong.

You can email me at barticle at hotmail.com - obviously changing the "at" to an
@ and removing the spaces. It would be helpful if you include the word "mahjong"
in the subject line and tell me which game you're playing.

------< THANKS >-------------------------------------------------- [Section 11]

I would like to thank...

o USPML for hosting my PDF mahjong guide (and GameFAQs for hosting this one!)

o Berlitz, Tuttle and (especially) tangorin.com for great language resources

o Play Asia for their excellent worldwide games sales service

o Martin Franklin for the deep entrancing mmmbience of TUU (RIP Rebecca)

I will be happy to give credit and thanks to anyone who makes a contribution.
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             /   \___ ________ _________/  \__ ___ ______ /  /  ________
.-------o   /  __   / \___   //  ___/\_   ___//  //  ___//  /  /  __   /
| ANOTHER  /  / /  /_____/  //  /     /  /   /  //  /   /  /  /   \/  / 
'---------/  /-/  //  __   //  /-----/  /---/  //  /---/  /--/  _____/---------.
         /  / /  //  / /  //  /     /  /   /  //  /   /  /  /  /         GUIDE |
        /   \/  //   \/  //  /     /   \_ /  //   \_ /   \ /   \________ o-----'
        \______/ \______/ \_/      \____/ \_/ \____/ \___/ \___________/
--
1500 DS Spirits Vol. 1 Mahjong Guide
Copyright 2011 James R. Barton
Initial version 1.00 completed 11 January 2011

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
respective trademark and copyright holders.

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use only. This work is subject to copyright. It may not be hosted online or
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The only websites with the author's consent to publish this guide are GameFAQs
(www.gamefaqs.com) and its affiliates (i.e. Gamespot).

If you find this file hosted on any other site I would be grateful if you would
inform me at the email address given at the top. Thanks!

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