Mahjong Duels is a new twist on traditional Mahjong tile-matching gameplay. Instead of a player removing pairs of tiles from layered patterns at their own pace, they must clear the field as quickly as possible during timed gameplay to prevent another player from finishing first. They can play against a stranger from anywhere in the world or invite friends.
As with other versions of Mahjong, the player is presented layers of stacked tiles that feature numbers, characters and pictures. Mahjong Duels isn't merely a global, multiplayer game. It also has a world-travel theme that focuses on ancient civilizations in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Maya, India and China. The player unlocks and visits each region after consecutively winning a certain number of duels in the previous one. The game features free cells the player can use to remove two non-matching tiles temporarily from the field to reveal a blocked tile or another layer. If the player wins a lot of duels, they rank on daily, weekly and monthly leaderboards.
The player also earns stars, coins and green diamonds. The game offers them bonuses as well. They use the money to pay an admission fee for the duels in each geographic region. They use the diamonds to pay for hints that reveal available pairs, reshuffle tiles and highlight top-layer tiles. Lastly, the player collects cards to place in an album known as "Around the World in 1,000 Cards."