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Whether or not you wish to try and learn Mah-jongg, this is an excellent game. You can be perfectly happy just playing the many variations of Shanghai and enjoying the graphics that come with each tileset. Mah-jongg is a complicated game, and the rules for learning it included with the game are the clearest I've seen. Not that this makes it any easier to learn, since it involves a great deal of memorization, but the clear explanations do help a great deal. Kids will also love this game, and it is a game the entire family can enjoy.
Classic Shanghai adds spatial manipulation and strategy to the simple pattern-matching of traditional solitaire. Tiles are randomly piled in a five-layered pyramid, and the object is to remove them by pairing them off. You need a bit of luck to clear the board, but it's your wits that make the difference in Shanghai. Once you've learned the basic game, the challenge of solving a puzzle where you can see almost all the pieces is nearly irresistible. For Shanghai: Dynasty, Activision has added four other games. There's a child's version of Shanghai and three multiplayer games, including Mah-Jongg. Sadly, the company has not included network play with the Macintosh version this time.
If you're the type that enjoys card games and doesn't care about playing with other people over the Internet or thinks that playing against the computer is good enough, then I recommend Shanghai: Dynasty. If you're the type that enjoys card games and would enjoy playing with other people over the Internet, then I can't recommend Shanghai: Dynasty. Internet play is the one factor in deciding whether you should buy this game or not, because Shanghai: Dynasty is an excellent game in all other respects.