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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.

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.