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Suikoden IV: Guides: Ritapon

A guide to the minigame of Ritapon
Suikoden IV: Guides: Ritapon


The mechanics of Ritapon should be familiar to anyone who has played a tile based game such as Mah JJong, or even a card based game such as Gin Rummy: The basic premise is to collect sets, either sets of the same tile, or sequential runs before your opponent. However this being Suikoden they have placed their own unique slant on proceedings.

The Tiles

There are five sets of tiles used in Ritapon. Four of these are seperated into colours: Red, Green, Blue and Yellow. Each of these is divided into three of values 1, 2 and 3 stars respectively; also each of these tiles has an image of one of the Stars of Destiny on it for easy recognition. There are three of each of these tiles so the player is expected to collect either a set such as {Red 1,Red 2,Red 3} of the same colour, or the set {Red 1,Red 1,Red 1}, unlike card based games there is no set of differing colours with the same number.
The remaining tiles have a picture of one of the five elements on them; while the game allows any set of three of them to be used in place of a {1,2,3} or {1,1,1} they also have individual effects detailed below.

The Game

The game randomly sorts the 41 tiles, dealing 8 to Rita and 8 to you. 24 of the rest make up the wall which is slowly demolished as each player takes the next tile from it in turn. The remaining tile is called the Dora, and while it plays no part in the game itself it can affect the scoring at the end.

The aim of the game is to collect three sets; of sequential tiles, the same tile or three elementals; before the opponent does. Each turn one player takes a tile from the wall and either discards it into the space in front of them, swaps it with one in their hand discarding the old tile, or in the case of an elemental tile uses it up. Whichever method occurs, the player will retain only eight tiles; the discarded tiles remain visible throughout the game so people can see what has been played.

In the event that one player discards a tile that the opponent has the two corresponding versions of then they can choose to call Pon which takes the tile, and places it with its bretheren to the right of the players hand. This remains visible to the opponent and the player cannot change those tiles for the remainder of the game. A player can decide not to use a Pon when it is available by pressing triangle when the prompt comes up. Also a Pon can only be called to make a set such as {1,1,1}, it is not available for a {1,2,3} or elemental set.

When a player has two sets and only requires one tile to make a third then they can call Reach when prompted; again they can elect not to call reach by pressing triangle. During Reach a player cannot change the tiles in their hand, and must discard any tile that does not match the one they are looking for; the only exception to this are the elemental tiles which can be used if taken from the wall. Should the player pick up the tile they are after from the wall they can call Tsumo and win the game. Similarly if their opponent discards the needed tile they can call Ron and win the game; unlike Pon, a Ron can take any needed tile regardless of set. If a player receives the tile they need but they have not declared Reach, then they cannot win the game in that round; instead they must declare Reach by discarding one tile and hope to receive another such tile in future.
After a player has won with either a Tsumo or a Ron then their score for the round is calculated and added to their current score; see scoring below.
If neither player gets Tsumo or Ron after all the tiles have been played then the round is declared Ryokyoko and no score is awarded to either player.

Elemental effects

Elemental runes can be used by pressing Circle whilst they are highlighted and confirming you wish to use the tile; the effect of each rune is different and is detailed below.

Wind: This rune will turn several tiles in the opponents hand to face the other way; the exact number varies from use to use, and it can be zero. This lets you tell what your opponent is collecting, and if you are lucky can tell you what tiles Rita does not possess. This tile is more annoying when it is used on you, and for this reason the player should try and keep memorised their tiles at all times.

Fire: This rune will destroy tiles in the opponents hand; usually one, but sometimes two or none result from using this tile, these tiles will be replaced with those from the wall. The destroyed tile(s) is removed from the game completely; unless previous use of the Wind Rune showed what the tile was then the player must guess what was destroyed: as the tiles line up in order Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Elemental with tiles placed in numerical order in each set; then a destroyed tile on the right (Rita's left) is likely to be from the Red or maybe Green sets, whereas one on the left (Rita's right) is most likely to be Yellow or an element.
The Fire Rune is also the only thing that can take a player out of Reach status, even if the replacement tile allows Reach status it must be declared again on the player's next turn. However the Fire Rune cannot affect any tiles moved to the right due to a Pon.

Earth: The Earth rune will prevent the effect of either a Fire or a Wind rune used against the player; however, it will only block one such attack. In the event that the second rune is used on the player it will work normally. When the Earth rune is in effect green bubbles are emitted by the player's tiles

Lightning: The Lightning rune allows the player to take the next three tiles from the wall; the opponent can still claim anything discarded by the player for a Pon or a Ron. Because of the latter it is often best to use this tile as soon as possible.

Water: The Water rune allows the player to take any piece discarded by either player and place it in their hand; once used the cursor will move to the discard set and by moving it the desired tile can be highlighted and claimed. Because the value of this tile increases with the amount of tiles discarded then it is best to save this until it is needed. In the event that the tile claimed will end the game then it is classed as a Tsumo, regardless of whether it originally came from the player's or the opponent's discard piles.


The winning player only has their score calculated depending on which sets they collected, there are also a set of bonuses that can be awarded that will affect the score for the round.
Each player starts with 10,000 points, after each round the points are calculated and they are added to the winning player as well as being subtracted from the losing player's total.

Regardless of the person on the tile, or the colour involved, the base values of the sets {1,1,1}, {2,2,2} and {3,3,3} are constant and depend on the number of the tile. If the set was collected as a Pon then the values are halved, a Ron set gives full values. These values are:

The Elemental set is worth a base of 1000 points regardless of which tiles make up the set, or what happened to the other two.

The sets {1,2,3} however do vary what they are worth depending on which person is on the tile, and which position that person is in. For every person each position has a word associated with it that has a set base value, these can be seen in the table below:

NameTile 1Tile 2Tile 3NameTile 1Tile 2Tile 3
 400250200 150150200
Lino En KuldesSpearFatherKingYuYuMoneyDoctor
 150250300 100200150
 250100150 200100100
 30030050 5050150
 15020050 50200200
 100150100 150200100
 150100100 200150150
 50100100 100150150
 5015050 150200200
 150200150 15010050
 100200250 100150150
 200100150 10050200
 150150200 50200150
 200100150 150150200
 50150200 50100200
 15050100 50150150
 3505050 200200150
 200150150 15050200
 150200100 200100150
 150150200 200150200
 100150200 150150100
 20010050 200150150
 15050150 200100150
 20050200 200200100
 150100150 150150200
 150200200 200150150
Lo SengLoBroSengRitaRitaRitaPon
 150150100 200200100
 200200150 150150200
Lo FongFongLoSisPerraultRowColumnNews
 150100150 100100150
 200200150 20010050
Lo HakHakFamilyLoAgnesCommonWorkerQuaint
 100100150 15015050
 200100150 5050200
 100150200 50200150
 150200150 150100200
 15050100 5050100
 200200150 150200250
 50200150 150250150
 20050150 50150100
 15050100 150100150
 15050150 10015050
 200100200 100200150
 15015050 100100200
 10020050 150150150
 150200100 100200200
 150200150 15025050
 200150100 15015050
 50150200 200100150
 10020050 150200150
 150150150 100100150
 200100150 150100150
 200150150 150150100
 50200100 15015050
 15050200 100200150
 150100150 150150350

So for instance if the tiles were {Hero, Lino, Elenor} [PunishFatherTactic] then the value would be 400 + 250 + 150 = 800, but if they were arranged {Lino, Elenor,Hero} [SpearWineKnight] then it would be 150 + 100 + 200 = 450. Thus it is in the players best interest to rearrange the tles into something they think is best.
Tiles can be changed in the Alter Piece option in the first list of options Rita gives, tiles can only be changed to characters currently recruited. Also note that when speaking to Rita before recruiting her this option is a row of question marks and you have to play with the pieces given.

Those values marked in green are the highest available for that position, and those in blue are the lowest; due to several people being on more than one list for different positions, then some valued at 200 must be added if the player intends to fully maximise the value of the reward.

The Bonuses

The values of the tiles are only part of the score that the player accumulates for winning a round. There are three possible bonuses that can apply to raise this level higher.

The Dora bonus: As mentioned at the start, there will be one tile left over called the Dora. If one of the winning sets contains one of the copies of the Dora tile, or is an elemental set if the Dora is elemental then that set will receive a bonus of 500 points applied to it.
Unconfirmed - It appears that if the Dora is elemental, and the player has an elemental set, then if the remaining elemental tile is known to have been used or discarded then this bonus will be 1500 points rather than 500.

The listed bonus: I am afraid I cannot give exact details as to how this is calculated. This bonus varies from round to round and must have a set of factors not yet discerned to work out a value. The lowest such bonus I have seen is 300, and the highest is 6100 (without the catchup bonus below applied) but the criteria for calculating that are not apparent. The factors that I belive affect this bonus include:
Winning with Ron seems to give a base value of 300
Winning with Tsumo seems to give a base value of 600
Winning with the last tile seems to give a bonus
The Dora tile seems to have no bearing on the bonus directly

The Catch-up Bonus: The game gives a bonus to the player who is behind in order to allow them to catch up with their opponent faster. The value of this bonus is calculated in a specific way: For each whole thousand points needed to bring the player to 10,000 or above then the player receives a 10% bonus on all values.
Thus for example if the player had 7,500 points before the round started and they won all the values shown would be increased by 30%, this includes the bonus, and any bonus for the Dora obtained. This value of 30% would be the same if the player had 7,000 or 7,995 points. The game calculates the bonus and displays this as the score for each set and bonus obtained.
So for example if the player had the {Hero, Lino, Elenor} set mentioned above with a Dora bonus and they had 7,500 points before the round started then the display would show ( 800 + 500 )* 1.3 = 1690.

The Reward

Ritapon will go on for ten rounds unless the player elects to stop it after an earlier round, or one of the players has their total point score lowered to 0 (Note that in this instance the winning player still has the excess added to their score). At this point the money is calculated: if the player is over 10,000 at the end then they will receive money from Rita, if they have less than 10,000 they will pay Rita. In the event of a draw neither player gains or loses money.

Before starting the game the player will have chosen a rate for the payments to be made, before recruiting Rita stays on the low rate; these are Low Rate, Normal Rate and High Rate. These rates affect all areas of the amount paid out based on the multiplier associated with the rate.
There are three areas paid out: the first is the difference between the players points score and 10,000; when calculating the payment any fractional values are always rounded down. The second depends on whether the player has more than 10,000 points or not: if more then the player receives a bonus for the number of rounds won, if less then the player pays out based on the number of rounds lost; the bonus and the payout for the same number of rounds is the same. Finally if the player reduces Rita's points to 0, or has their own reduced to 0 then the game declares a Hakoten and a bonus or payout is made accordingly. (Note that Rita's text still says win when it means lose.)
Finally if the player wins an overall game, whether due to finishing 10 rounds or by a Hakoten, will receive a bonus item dependant on the rate chosen.

 MultiplierHakoten1 win2 wins3 wins4 wins5 wins6 wins7 wins8 wins9 wins10 winsItem
Low Rate0.0550050140240360500660840104012601500Antitoxin
Normal Rate0.505000500140024003600500066008400104001260015000Mega Medicine
High Rate1.00100001000180048007200100001320016800208002520030000Mushroom

Numerically speaking it should be possible to win all ten games, although the chance of avoiding bonuses is remote; in fact I've never had more than seven which is why the figures for eight and above are in italics as they are unconfirmed.

General Tips

Pay close attention to which tiles have been discarded, you can tell what Rita isn't collecting by what she discards. Also is you can see the three identical tiles but not a single one of another of that set, there is a good chance that Rita has all three of that tile, or is aiming for all three; hence aiming for a {1,2,3} of that colour is something you should avoid.

If you can pay attention to where in her hand Rita places, and discards tiles, you can sometimes work out what colour tile is being moved; this is easier after using the Wind Rune.

Aim for three sets: four sets of pairs limits your options, if you have for example a yellow 1 and two of the yellow 2's then you can make a set with either a yellow 3 or the remaining yellow 2.

A Pon may be half value, but since those tiles cannot be changed they are safe from Fire Rune attacks

Try and aim for a needing a tile for a {1,2,3} set with the Reach option: there are three tiles that can finish that, but only one to finish a {1,1,1} etc set; and if you are really unlucky the latter is the Dora tile or was destroyed by the Fire rune.

The elemental set may be valuable but it is risky, as your opponent frequently uses elemental tiles rather than discarding them then aiming for it with Reach rarely ever works.

Hold the Water Rune back if you can, it is one of the most useful tiles to call Reach on, use and pick up the desired tile. Try and hold the Fire Rune back as well as that can help destabilise your opponent, but do not give this priority over more useful tiles to your hand.

Similarly use the Lightning and Earth Runes as soon as possible to help you out. The Wind Rune can be used whenever as it is too unreliable.

Never discard any elemental rune, even in Reach, Rita sometimes collects them and you do not want to give her a Ron; also if she has no other use for a Water Rune she will grab a discarded elemental and use it against you.

Consider changing the tiles around, high level sets will lead to quick wins (and defeats) but low value ones can rack up the wins bonus.

Turn the sound down, or mute the tv, Rita's voice acting may suit the character but does tend to annoy after a while; especially when she repeats the same phrases over and over.

Finally have fun with the game, if you view it as a chore then use a different method to gain money and items.