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Running Four Winds Mah Jong using CrossOver

With the recent version(s) of CodeWeavers CrossOver you can run Four Winds not only on Linux and older MacOS X computers but also on latest 64-bit macOS versions, including Catalina, BigSur, Monterey, Ventura and Sonoma, and even on new macs using Apple Silicon (M1/M2(M3) chips.

While CrossOver is based on Wine (“Wine is Not an Emulator”), meaning that Windows license is not required, it is not possible (at least without serious tweaking) to get 32-bit Windows applications running on latest macOS versions (Big Sur, Monterey and Ventura) with macs that use the new M1 /M2/M3 Apple Silicon) based chip. But with CrossOver, this is not a problem, and installation is easy. 

CrossOver is not free (costing currently EUR 74, perpetual license the price covering updates for one year), but it allows you to install and run native Windows 32-bit apps like Four Winds smoothly, supporting most of the features of the game.

In the following clip the game is installed on Monterey 12.2.1 using CrossOver 21.1 (the most recent 23.x versions support also macOS Sonoma):


As with Wine-installations, DIrectShow and DirectPlay based features like playing MP3 background music and running multiplayer games are not available (but multiplayer games are not in practice available currently on Windows platform, either, as setting up requires manual change of router settings)- The color management (by default enabled) also needs to be turned off from the game settings to avoid crashes (as shown on the video clip), and the game boards are not necessarily optimal for your mac (the full screen game boards cannot be forced to cover the macOS menu bar, so the bottom of a full-screen game board might not be reachable otherwise than using keyboard shortcuts, e.g., pressing O to declare “Out”). On the other hand, there are several layout options so you are likely to find one that works well on your mac.

For more information (and a 14-day trial version), check 

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Running Four Winds on Android with ExaGear

A screenshot of Four Winds running on Samsung Galaxy S7 on Android 8 (Oreo) using ExaGear Strategies Windows emulator.  The game can be run in full screen (and without side controls shown above) by letting ExaGear stretch the graphics (800 x 600 px “Basic Board” is used here as the game board). The larger game boards and integrated layouts are available in the emulator if supported by the device (but may not not be usable in mobile phone context; but e.g. for a 10-inch tablet all layouts would typically be available).

By using Eltechs’ Windows emulators you can now run Four Winds Mah Jong on your Android devices. Two versions are available, ExaGear Strategies (a free three-day trial period, lifetime license EUR 16.99, or monthly subscription at EUR 1.89) or the full Windows version, ExaGear Windows Emulator (lifetime license EUR 32,99). The former is recommended as it requires significantly less disk space, but to install the game you need to have the game installed on Windows and copy your Four Winds program folder (under C:\Program Files(x86)) onto your Android device’s ExaGear folder. On the full emulator you can install the game setup package similarly as on true Windows so basically you do not need to have a Windows computer. Note: The full emulator has currently a problem that leaves non-modal windows behind the main program window (the next version of Four Winds, however, will include a feature that makes this bug irrelevant). Note that you do not need a Windows license when using ExaGear.

Small text is not a problem on ExaGear since you can zoom in easily to make your selections in menus and setup dialog boxes and then zoom back when ready to return to the game. The game play itself is smooth (even on older Android devices like Sony Xperia Z2 running Android 7), and by changing the default control setup (Game Controls button under on the General option page of the User Interface group of the Preferences) so that discarding happens by tapping a raised tile (and is restricted to the tile itself), and checking the “Touch screen friendly” option on the same option page you can achieve surprisingly pleasant mobile playability by emulation.

Note that only ARM-based Android devices are supported so the emulation does not work on x86-based Android devices (like Lenovo Yoga Book) even if the application itself can be installed on such a device.

Most of the features of the game are available (excluding background music, which would require support for DirectX). Four Winds version 2.19 includes new features that make the game more accessible in mobile environment, e.g. the extra information windows will be available as alternating views similarly as the Discards view in the Basic game boards (but will continue to be available also as separate windows if wished), and the user interface has smart buttons that allow accessing of the most commonly used features more easily.

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Streaming Four Winds from a Windows Host

Streaming from Windows 10 Pro to Sony Xperia Z2.
Screenshot: Streaming from Windows 10 Pro to Sony Xperia Z2 using Android version of Microsoft Remote Desktop Client. Host: Dell XPS15 set at 1280×800, 150% App Scaling, Taskbar moved from bottom of the screen to the right edge. Client: 1920 x 1080px native screen, default Remote Desktop Client app settings, Four Winds set to be using Basic Board C at 1024 x 768px, auto-scaled to 1440 x 1080 by the RD client app. 

If you have installed Four Winds Mah Jong on Windows Pro or Enterprise, you can play the game on a Windows, Linux, macOS or iOS client by using free Remote Desktop App (or equivalent desktop client, included in the operating system). Or you can use a third-party app like Splashtop Personal, or Chrome Remote Desktop, to host the game on Windows Home computers, as well.

Normally the connection is created within a local area network (wired or wireless), but can be extended to WAN connections. The experience especially within LAN is close to running a local app, and can ideally near the experience of using a native app on a non-Windows client. This post shows how to establish the connection.

When streaming within LAN, all native features of the game are accessible to all clients, including multiplayer games. You can play the game with your family e.g. by using mixed devices, e.g. Windows/macOS/Linux laptops, iPads and Android tablets (or even, if only barely, large-screen mobile phones, as shown in the screenshot above).

Note that when running recent versions of Windows 10 operating system, or Windows 11, you will need to use a 3rd party program to enable Winsock 1.x multiplayer games. For instructions, please check

Using Windows Remote Desktop Connection (requires Windows Pro or Enterprise)

  1. The easiest way to set up the hosting computer is to download Microsoft Remote Desktop Assistant at If you use the assistant, you get easily the IP address that you need to establish the connection from the client side. An alternative method would be setting up the remote connection manually. In recent versions of Windows 10 you can do this from Settings > System > Remote Desktop, where you can access the related settings like turning off the automatic sleep mode. On older systems, the easiest method to establish remote desktop connections is to right click the My Computer icon on the Windows Desktop, choose Properties and then the Remote tab (this can still be accessed on Windows 10 Control Panel by clicking System > Advanced system settings > Remote.
  2. If you use Linux or macOS computer, or iOS, Android or Windows Mobile device, open the Remote Desktop app (available for free from Microsoft Store, Google Play, or App Store), and add your remote PC. Select the remote PC, and then wait for the connection to complete. An alternative method would be using the Remote Desktop Connection desktop interface  (it can normally be located by searching “Remote Desktop Connection” from the Start Menu Search box, but if not, it resides in C:\Windows\System32\mstsc.exe). The app has the benefit of supporting better display scaling (useful especially if either of your computers uses 4K or very high-resolution display but the other does not).
    NOTE: Microsoft Remote Desktop app runs also on the new Apple M1/M2 computers with Big Sur, Monterey or Ventura. This is currently also the only (free) way to use Windows apps on the new Apple computers, and currently the only reliable way to use 32-bit Windows apps on Catalina.
  3. You can extend the Remote Desktop to operate across the Internet, but this requires setting up port forwarding on your router, or using VPN. Please check instructions at

Using Splashtop Personal

  1. Go to to download and install the Windows XP, 7, 8 or 10 host (“Spashtop Streamer”) on the computer where you have Four Winds Mah Jong installed, and a client app for Windows XP, 7, 7 or 10, Windows Mobile, Mac OS X / macOS, iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android or Kindle Fire to be installed on your client device.
  2. Follow the instructions for creating a Splashtop account and setting up the apps.
  3. You can use Splashtop Personal free within LAN. At an extra annual charge, you can extend the connection to operate across the Internet.

Video capture on running Four Winds on iPad using Splashtop Personal

Other methods

Chrome Remote Desktop allows streaming across the Internet between any two devices running Chrome browser. There may be issues with the sound but otherwise the connection seems to be operational.

Parallels Access allows accessing multiple hosts (up to five Windows or Mac computers) with any number of mobile Android and iOS devices and desktop computers (via a browser) accross the Internet with a plan costing EUR 17.99 per year.

Streaming across Internet from Windows 10 host onto an Android device (10-inch Yoga Book tablet running Android 7)
with Parallels Access. The apps cannot be zoomed in (if there is no internal support for it), but accessing menus and controls is made possible by offering a magnifying glass combined with gestures that allow making precise mouse-like operations. 

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Setting up Wine on macOS (High) Sierra to run Four Winds Mah Jong

Recent developments in virtualization, emulation and techniques that allow running of applications developed for “foreign” platforms as if they were native ones, have made it relatively easy, and often free, to use the same app in mixed environments.

This post takes a closer look on one of this techniques, namely Wine (acronym for “Wine Is Not an Emulator”), that allows running native Windows software on POSIX-compliant operating systems, such as Linux, macOS, & BSD, without need for a Windows license. 

Here we install the game on macOS Sierra / High Sierra (the screenshots are from Sierra).

  1. First you need to allow your system to install apps from “App Store and identified developers” (or possibly “Anyone”, depending on what else needs to be installed other than XQuartz and Wine). Earlier macOS versions let you alter the default setting (that allows apps only from the App Store) by setting the Gatekeeper option under System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General, but High Sierra hides the other two options and you need to enable them by opening the Terminal (in Finder, click Go > Utilities and open Terminal), and type the following (you need to enter your user password to be able to change the setting):
sudo spctl --master-disable
  1. After this you can go and change the Gatekeeper setting.
  2. Go to  and read the introductory text, if you are not familiar with the concept of Wine, then go to to read installation instructions specific to macOS.
  3. You first need to have XQuartz 2.7.7. (or later) installed. Visit to download it. Click the .pkg file in Downloads to mount the installer, then launch it to go through the installation.
  4. After having installed XQuartz, download Wine at (version 2.21 “Wine Staging” is a good choice):
  5. Download the .pkg file, click it in Downloads to mount the installer, then launch it to start the installation. During the installation, you may be interrupted by prompts to install support for Mono (for .NET applications) and Gecko (for apps that use HTML internally). Accept to install these support packages.
  6. After the installation is complete, you can go to and download the latest version of Four Winds Mah Jong. Once downloaded, click the executable setup package (normally 4W2Full24.exe) in Downloads. It will automatically be launched in Wine and installed in correct location. A Windows shortcut is placed on the desktop, but it naturally does not work. You need to replace it with a Mac alias.
  7. Open your Home folder (in Finder, click Go > Home or press Cmd+Shift+H). Now make hidden files and folders visible by pressing Cmd+Shift+. (dot). This shows the hidden .wine folder where your Windows environment is installed:
  8. Double click the .wine folder and open folders until you have 4Winds2 folder open (the folder path relative to .wine is, as shown in the image below: drive_c > Program Files > 4Winds2:
  9. Here, click with the secondary mouse button on 4Winds2.exe to create an alias, then drag and drop it on your desktop.
  10. Launch Four Winds by double clicking the alias.
  11. Once launched, go to File > Preferences, and under User Interface > General option page (accessed by the category tree on the left), disable color management by clearing the check mark from the Use color management option:

    You may also need to Bypass DirectX sound (under the same option page), and choose a MIDI file (on the Themes option page) for the “Background” and “Win of the game” music, or set their values to “none”.  (the default music comes as .mp3 files which require DirectX). If you do not change the sound settings, you can turn off background music from the Options menu so that an unsupported feature is not used.

  12. If you have a one-button mouse, click the Game Controls button, then change the mouse control setting for discarding from “Right click on  raised tile” to “Click on raised tile”. On the same dialog box, you may need to uncheck Use custom cursors (with recent Wine builds, animated and custom cursors seem to be working fine, but if the game suddenly freezes, one possible cause is the use of custom mouse cursors).
  13. Close the Preferences dialog box and click Help > Register to enter your registration name and number. Then choose Game > New Game to start a new game with preferred rules.
  14. You may want to test with different game boards by using the options under the View > Game boards sub menu to find the board size and layout that works best on your screen. Note that the quality of graphics is mediocre compared to the original but looks slightly better on boards that have not been scaled. If you choose a 24-bit theme, scaling has a better quality: e.g., for the default graphics, choose File > Preferences, then under User Interface > Themes, choose “Four Winds (24-bit)”.

And there you are, running Four Winds Mah Jong on your Mac, without needing a Windows license. The quality is not as good as when using VMWare or VirtualBox (both free), or Parallels Desktop, not to mention running the game on real Windows on a BootCamp partition, but at least you can now play proper Mahjong with multitude of rule options offline on your Mac.

NOTE: WINE based solutions are currently limited to macOS versions that support running 32-bit apps, so this solution is not at least officially applicable to macOS Catalina, Big Sur or Monterey (there are posts on the Internet that describe using WINE also on these operating systems, but officially only systems up to Mojave are supported) . The commercial version of Wine, CodeWeavers CrossOver, however officially supports 64-bit macOS versions up to Monterey, and even new M1 (Apple Silicon) based macs, while other solutions are limited to Intel based macs. For more information, see a separate post on this forum.

A screenshot of Four Winds 2.18 running on macOS Mojave using the latest Wine (4.2 Staging) and XQuartz 2.7.11.
The quality of graphics has improved with latest versions and scaled boards work well.


Running Four Winds on Linux

The procedure is basically the same as on macOS, though installation happens from within the Terminal. WineHQ has instructions for installing Wine on several different Linux systems. Below is a screenshot of Four Winds running on Ubuntu 16.04 using Wine 3.0.