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Page history last edited by Mace 2 years, 1 month ago

Play Pai Sho Online Right Now

If you're looking to learn and play Pai Sho as fast as possible, watch this video and visit SkudPaiSho.com.


Pai Sho


Please read the WikiRules before submitting.

NOTE: The wiki rules have changed (as of May 22nd, 2011 to clarify the copyright issues of the content here, (i.e. it's released to CC, and no one can "own" it, or profit from it)

This page is devoted to the decoding of the ancient wisdoms of the game of Pai Sho, as seen in the world of  Avatar: the last air bender. Please feel free to share any ideas or comments for this game. I've laid down some basic ideas, but nothing's really written in stone. The password is "AangAvatar". You don't need anyone's permission to edit, if you have an idea, go right ahead! (The front page has been cleaned up some; no worries though, any information it contained has simply been rejiggered to one of the pages linked here. The Wiki Pai Sho page will be almost a photocopy of the old FrontPage, but I wanted to open some room for more Variant formats.)
The content of this site is released under creative commons non commercial share alike licence. Please visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us for more information. Avatar: the last airbender and the basic concept of Pai sho is (C)2008 Nickelodeon. Please do not copy information from this page without giving proper citations!
What is Pai Sho?
 Pai Sho is an ancient game that stretches in popularity among many nations. It is unknown where Pai Sho first originated, as all of the four nations claim that it originated in their respective countries, naming specific villages and historical persons as originators or major reformers to what eventually became known as Pai Sho. The first mention of Pai Sho in writing is around -850 in a fire nation historical book. Over the next 1,000 years more writings appeared in a greater quantity throughout the four nations.
Pai Sho was played in air temples, and is played in the earth king's palace, the water tribe villages and fire nation cities and on the fire nation war barges. Pai Sho is somewhat inspired by oriental flower arranging (Ikebana). The game is commonly played with two players, though a larger number could play.
Archaeologists discovered Pai Sho boards, pieces and diagrams in an ancient air temple and have pieced together a "lost" variation of Pai Sho dubbed Tei Setsu Pai Sho (Air Temple Pai Sho). The game was played in the squares, but it is unknown whether this is the original game, or a variant brought from one of the other nations, click Tei Setsu Pai Sho for more details.
Playing Materials 


 The game is played on a circular board with an 18x18 square grid with the corners cut off. In the center is a diamond shape divided in to four quarters with white and red at opposite corners. A Pai Sho board has 256 spaces on it.
Seating- Two players sit across from one another. The drawn tip closest to you is called “the Home Port”. The tip closest to your opponent is called “the Foreign Port”. The other two tips are call “East” and “West” Ports. The “Sides” are divided by the line in the center.



Few tiles are known with certainty; those that are include the White Lotus, the Wheel, and others shown here. Thus, different variant creations utilise different tile sets. For more on these Variants, see Variations.




Harmony plays an important part in many variations of the game; from accumulating points, to removing pieces, rules for Harmony fulfill many roles. While specific combinations for Harmonies vary, some similarities exist:


  • Most often, Harmonies occur between two pieces, though occasionally those pieces can form a chain with other Harmonious pieces.
  • Generally, Harmonies have a value, differentiating valuable or difficult Harmonies from less valuable or simpler ones.
  • When Harmonies are present, the White Lotus tile generally produces them easily or increases their value.


The Pot

In games that utilize capturing, all captured pieces are put into a pile on the side of the board, which is called "The Pot". It can be worth a certain number of points; these points are often awarded to one player or another after the game, to keep it interesting. In addition, The Pot is often used to facilitate gambling, applying a monetary amount to total point value therein.


See Also:

Comments (Show all 234)

Osuji said

at 5:26 am on Jul 17, 2012

Oh and about the Pai Sho tile from blazer designs. You may want to reach out to them for more than just a tile. They have specifically noted free commons as a potential obstacle to their production of a set. Perhaps they have some legal insights to share. I see you are watching the series through again. If that is to gather resource materials rather than for pleasure save yourself some time and only look at the 4 episodes in which Pai Sho is seen: The Water Bending Scroll, The Storm, The Blue Spirit, and The Desert.

Tristan Smith said

at 5:47 am on Jul 17, 2012

just a comment on watching the series again.. no no no definitely not for resource purposes lol i have it saved on my portable hd, and i work on an iMac 27", when my wife goes to work - (8pm-3am) i like to shut down production in my office, and start right at Book 1 and it will take me maybe 3-4 days to get through them all again, and every time i just love it. I watch the first of Legend of Korra too, but its just not the same. Ive seen the Aang series about 6-7 times in a month already, i know I'm a freak! Just love it!

Tristan Smith said

at 6:25 am on Jul 17, 2012

Well, no offense taken - check my www.facebook.com/theprojectllc and you'll see our website is in beta (I'm writing an in house app to update my xmls for the flash site) so hence the lack of a portfolio and a better RSS and news feed, but yes, that myCalc app is indeed my companies first app to go to the app store and google play. Ive only owned my LLC since 5/2012, so as far as in the retail environment thats closest i have. (little news pitch - yes exactly, its a skinned calculator that will let you personalize it with a picture, or say you don't want the cos, sin functions, you can swap them off for other functions you may need for more useful ones.) For lack of news on my site I want to add that no, I haven't done any games (through my company)...yet. It is a personal goal of mine, hence why i created the company. Ive worked for several software houses in my career, and this has been a dream of mine for some time. My studio right not is currently developing other apps though, (have to pay bills lol) for www.egnyte.com, we are making an Agile Project Management app that uses Egnytes cloud servers, they don't have a specific API, yet so Ive worked with Sean Puttergill over there to get it done. We are also working another enterprise app for Film Biz Recycling and its group ArtCube, a dedicated community to the film business. We have one game, and id love to post pics of the screen shots, that was first made with Corona, but that was scrapped in favor of using Cocos2d (easier and fluid) About an un-named (so far..) orphan girl, lost and alone in a graveyard, who carries a stuffed duckling, with devil horns. This and many other oddity animals are her protectors - think of the whole through something at something mechanic but i really don't want to get to much out there as I really feel like this could be big one, there is a lot of passion going into this, and the guys and gals at the studio have developed affection the same way for it...keep an eye out!

Tristan Smith said

at 6:27 am on Jul 17, 2012

Im sorry to banter, but i just want to point out, yes I'm a new studio, with good experience, and projects like this are exciting to me. Ive used a contact Ive made to make a shout to Nick regarding use of Pai Sho, and the Avatar lore behind it, in the form of a letter, I personally do not have experience using IP that big, but hopefully Mark does as he claims. Has anyone ever tried working with Nick on these boards about Pai Sho, or is it protected by a CC license as its not for sale?

Also the whole ad thing, it would be the standard banners you see on Apple and Android devices and we'd try to keep it to the pause menu only. I plan to put 2 people into this project once i feel confident I won't have a suit on my hands, and an ad is just there to make sure i can give them a paycheck when the day is through, and would not interfere with game play at all, promise.

I am going to jump over to LG and start posting there, as your all right, thats where the action is happening with regards to Pai Sho. Id love to get everyone involved in it, but Id like a little encouragement that yes it will be a free app, but I just don't want the fan base to stone me for trying to get ad credits from the game, just want to make sure I'm getting my studio something out of it, as we will put our best into it as well.

Tristan Smith said

at 6:30 am on Jul 17, 2012

i apologize for my typos and misspellings but my 12mos old is sitting on my lap as i type and attempting to sabotage my Mac!

Tristan Smith said

at 6:47 am on Jul 17, 2012

on this note, and i wish i read more in depth before, but this is a great idea. A variant tool site, with a simple pai who table, and the ability for individual users to input a rule set and test it based off this. I can use my ad hoc provisioning profile tools in iOS if anyone has an iPhone / iPad / iPod to get select members here to "test" an app before i submit it, this way a variant tool will be out there, and i can reuse my code which would be extremely helpful, thoughts?

Osuji said

at 7:58 am on Jul 17, 2012

Request access to LG and either Cyril or I will grant your request. We can open a discussion about various details you have posted here. It will be easier than chasing comment threads here on PSP.

Tristan Smith said

at 7:49 am on Jul 18, 2012

thanks osuji will do right now! appreciate it!

PS-Prog said

at 11:57 pm on Sep 1, 2012


I am a Windows programmer and i am also interested in pai sho
I can make a program for pai sho with the next features:

Multiplayer (2 to 4)
3d graphics
Modifyable rules, tiles etc
A save function for a in-progress game,
A "snapshot" function for saving turn data individually
A undo button
A record button for saving the entire game (also the real time elapse between turns if you want)
And more if you want

Yi Chen said

at 12:40 am on Sep 2, 2012

Greetings, one of the main problems with developing the game is that there is no complete rule set yet. As you will see there are several versions of Pai Sho on this site alone and there are a number of groups trying to create the game. At the moment there is not a lot of development going on this forum, a more active group can be found at http://lotusgambit.pbworks.com/w/page/45592429/Home
Good luck with your venture.

Frank said

at 7:42 am on Sep 2, 2012

Even though i pretty much never come on this site anymore, i still get notifications. When i saw this comment i had to reply. Even though there are no set rules here, i still go by my original rules. It would be awesome if you could make a game for me. I can send you a set of rules by email. How much would it cost?

Cyril said

at 10:50 am on Sep 2, 2012

Please, Frank. I'm not sure this is good idea. While it's not clear that "PaiSho Programmer" takes commissions, it would also be much less complitacted if you'd not order a seperate app. This guy has already requested access from me at lotusgambit, so it seems like he will be participating in creating our LG engine, and I'm sure it can be organized that the app supports other rulesets. So let's concentrate our efforts on one universal program rather than everyone working for themselves.

BTW Your work on DA is awesome. I already commented about the Destiny Islands thing, but your woodcarving looks really good too. ^_^

Rodrigo said

at 7:41 pm on Jan 5, 2013

how to create a harmony? is created with a square in the middle, so you can bring a rock to block it? as block harmonies with rocks or wheels?

Yi Chen said

at 2:38 am on Jan 6, 2013

Hi Rodrigo, this forum isn't very active try asking here http://lotusgambit.pbworks.com/w/page/45592429/Home

JStar said

at 12:42 pm on Jul 10, 2014

Hey guys! I'm fairly new here. I am currently making my own Pai Sho board game and tiles. I will be playing extensively with my friends in a couple of weeks (2-3). We will be able to test many rules. I will probably create a page indicating the rules variation we used and the results (fun, not fun, hard, easy, etc). I'll keep you posted soon. Making the tiles is really a lot of work!

Cyril said

at 12:51 pm on Jul 10, 2014

Welcome Jeremie, that sounds pretty good! Have loads of fun, and make sure to notify us if you have some ideas about refining the rulesets. I haven't played many of them myself, so I can't really recommend anything... apart of course from my own one, lol!

Ofek Nagar said

at 10:16 am on Aug 19, 2015

So listen... I know I'm something like 3 years late, BUT Pai Sho is really important to me. I've tried to improve the Wiki Pai Sho rules set by myself - but I couldn't do it alone.
I'm sure that by now you all probably have more important things to worry about, but if you have time PLEASE add a comment and let's build an appropriate rule set.
As I said - I REALLY want to make Pai Sho an appropriate game - and further - it should really be "more than just a game".
Since no one has visited this site for like 2 years, I will write this in several places so there will be a better chance for ANYONE to see that. Please, if you see this comment and you want to help me and write back - write in the front page (I wrote it there too) so I won't have to look for it everywhere.

Ofek Nagar said

at 10:21 am on Aug 19, 2015

Oh, I didn't see those comments from 2014. I really thought that no one has visited here for 3 years..
Well, 1 year is still a long time.
Anyway - Cyril, you look like someone who is still working on this, right?
From your comments it sounds like you like the game more than I do and that it's still important to you, am I right?
Well come on everyone, join, and let's improve those rules (as you can see I'm new, so I still have hope :P )

Ofek Nagar said

at 10:36 am on Aug 19, 2015

I forgot to say - if there is any site that is more active currently please tell me, I would like to participate in the developing of the game (and if you don't like my rules - that's fine, after all I'm still new in this.. Some people are working on this for 3 years...)

Cyril said

at 3:20 pm on Aug 19, 2015

Hello, this is Cyril (as you can see). You're right, I am indeed still working on it, along with a good friend of mine. I like to see you're so enthusiastic about Pai Sho; these days, hardly anyone is! You guessed it correctly, there is a newer site at http://lotusgambit.pbworks.com/ that I founded back in the day and still maintain as admin. That's where all the real stuff is going on, so make sure to take a look. You can just hit "request access" and I'll give you the membership, no worries.
If you like what you find at Lotusgambit, I'll be happy to make you familiar with the "international Pai Sho scene", or what's left of it ;-)

Cyril said

at 3:22 pm on Aug 19, 2015

And by the way, you show creativity and great commitment by commenting on multiple pages, but all members of this site are notified by email if any edit occurs, so I would have noticed anyway. But there's hardly ever anybody around here, so don't worry about it, you didn't bother them.

Ofek Nagar said

at 3:43 pm on Aug 19, 2015

Thank you I will absolutely visit LotusGambit tomorrow (I don't know how about you, but in Israel it's the middle of the night.. :P )
I would love to hear about the "International Pai Sho scene" after visiting the site - it sounds very interesting.
And I'm enthusiastic because I've always wanted to play Pai Sho, since I was a kid, but I never thought it'd be possible. I discovered this site a year ago, and since then I can't get it out of my mind! So I started improving the Wiki version as I said. Funny story - I got to the same Wheel Tile rule correction (with the 3 steps box instead of only the adjacent intersections) as you and Frank did! :P What a small world!
Anyway, just one last question before visiting the LotusGambit - is the content there a little bit similar to the content here? I mean, do the rules sets in there have anything in common with the rules here, or is it a whole different world?

Java said

at 12:51 pm on Nov 9, 2015

What is the difference between this site and LotusGambit? As near as I can tell, Lotus gambit is a site that is one set one rules that is being changed, where as this site has several variants with each being correct in there own right. Does LotusGambits rules set have a page on this site? and is there a difference that I haven't noticed on the other site?

Skud said

at 6:22 am on Apr 9, 2016

I'm working on a set of rules called Skud Pai Sho. Skud Pai Sho is my official Pai Sho variant based heavily on the various existing community rules, intended to be a comprehensive set of rules that make the game fun, competitive, and strategic. I just published my first draft of the rules: https://burnsoftware.wordpress.com/skudpaisho/

Skud said

at 6:27 am on Apr 9, 2016

From that page you can see my twitter page, where you can contact me. Feel free!

Cyril said

at 6:35 am on Apr 9, 2016

This is Cyril speaking, I'm the admin of lotusgambit.pbworks.com and very interested in this publication. I've only had a quick look so far but your system of moving+dropping is highly interesting. I'd be delighted to take a more detailed look later and talk about some point of this system. Very nice work so far.

Skud said

at 6:43 am on Apr 9, 2016

Thanks! If you're on twitter, feel free to say hi any time @SkudPaiSho - or else, email me at zach -at- stew.dk. I probably won't be able to respond on here as quickly. Thanks!

Skud said

at 7:37 pm on Apr 16, 2016

Hi Cyril, I have actually changed the move+drop type of move, and the rules on the Skud Pai Sho page here are updated. While that mechanic did create a nice pace and allowed players to control the gates, once the gates were played in, they were stuck the rest of the game. I couldn't think of a simple way to allow for the occasional shift, so I just changed the moves to be either move or place.

Skud said

at 8:35 pm on Sep 25, 2016

Hi all! I've been working on Skud Pai Sho for a while now, and just wanted to share that http://skudpaisho.com/ is in the works for playing online!

Skud said

at 9:07 am on Jan 14, 2017

Calling all Pai Sho lovers! Some final tweaks have been made to Skud Pai Sho, and you should try it and see if it isn't the best Pai Sho game you've ever seen. Links to learn about it and to join me in a game (yeah, it's playable online!) are at https://skudpaisho.wordpress.com/skud-quick-reference/

Cyril said

at 11:04 am on Jan 14, 2017

Uhmmm, how do I put this... Listen Skud, I know you've been working on your set for months now and it's a big thing and all but there is a few things that you should keep in mind. I'm not saying any of these to cut your motivation short, just to help you find more people to play with (because although I don't know it, I dare to assume that besides maybe a friend or two who played with you, nobody online has done so? Idk maybe you're already super famous and I just don't know it, but I doubt it).
-As you know, this website has been dead for years and the few fans that Pai Sho has left are scattered and don't visit here any more. You should try other channels beside this website, or if you want I can give you contacts to Osuji and Kasper directly because the playerbase is so small you might just as well contact them each.
-Your ruleset is close to the original PSP which is a big advantage for you because that's what people seem to enjoy playing, but I must say that if you're looking for people to play with you'll have to look somewhere else because both myself and Osuji aren't the biggest fans of that set. You should try Kasper; again, I can introduce you to him.
-I know you're just trying to get interest in your website going and that's fine but are you really sure that your ruleset is the best Pai Sho we've ever seen?? I don't mean to sound rude but there is so much material available on why the old PSP set was terrible and by sticking close to it you're in danger of walking into the same trap. Again, no offence, I'm just trying to help.
Please contact me if you have further questions or just want to discuss the whole Pai Sho thing, I'm looking forward to helping you, and being an influential member of the community I'm sure I can call in a few favors too.
Regards, Cyril

Cyril said

at 11:07 am on Jan 14, 2017

There's an old Lotusgambit twitter that I never use these days, so I would prefer email or something like that. To send me an email, please head over to lotusgambit.pbworks.com and use the "contact the owner" function at the very bottom of the page (it's very small but that will send me an email without me having to share my address here publicly).

Cyril said

at 11:10 am on Jan 14, 2017

And by the way I just noticed that your explanation video on Youtube has decent view counts so I suppose I have to take back my previous assumption that you were being unsuccessful with your set. Congratulations

Skud said

at 5:34 pm on Jan 14, 2017

Thanks. I did make a page for my rules on this wiki, but mostly all my stuff is at my wordpress page, where I also have the rules overview and other Skud Pai Sho specific stuff, but also reviews of Pai Sho sets available to buy in real life, info about standard sizes of Pai Sho boards (for people who want to build or sell Pai Sho stuff), a print-and-play Pai Sho set, and more. So you definitely need to check that out - it's the go-to place for that stuff now. Let me know if you think any of that content could be helpful any other places.

Skud said

at 5:26 pm on Jan 14, 2017

Thanks for all the suggestions here. But don't worry, I just wanted to leave a comment - there might not be much activity here but people still stumble upon it and over time, they'll see it. Anyways, I'll also contact you directly, but here are a couple thoughts..

You might not be a fan of other rules here, but you might not know that my rules are completely tweaked, revised, and playtested. I really hope you'll give it a try. Because of how much I've changed, it plays out completely different. This all started when I tried out existing rules and set out to overcome the flaws.

I've been playing non-stop for months playtesting and refining it. As far as who plays it, I play mostly with one other person (constantly) but new people are trying it out every now and then. We're definitely looking forward to a larger community of players, but that'll happen slowly. I'm just now feeling completely finished with the rules, after all.

I'd be interested to hear more about what issues the old PSP rules had - let me know if you could, I may not have seen the most important discussions on that. But my rules are so different, it's hard to say what sort of issues they would share.


Osuji said

at 7:08 am on Feb 17, 2017

Well since my name has been invoked I guess I should rise Kraken-like from the depths of my hibernation and respond. I agree in general with Cyril's Assessment of old PSP rules, and our opinion of them. However... I supose we should give this ruleset a fair review and evaluation. I think in addition to the retension of the old PSP system (even if only in part) this version has a PR issue. The word SKUD has an association with the old Iraq missle system which I admit by itself deterred me from taking an interest earlier. I suggest rebranding if this proves a successful version.

So, I'll give this a read through both here and on wordpress. And then think about the system as a whole with an aim to finding flaws.

Skud said

at 5:20 pm on Feb 16, 2017

Skud Pai Sho update:
- An artist contacted me with thoughts on redesigning the Basic Flower Tiles, and has created new images for all the tiles, and they are now the default on http://skudpaisho.com/ - See http://hector-lowe.com/ for more from the artist. An option to switch between tile designs is at the bottom of the main description/help text area.

- I'm planning on hosting an online Pai Sho tournament and awarding a set of tiles from Lyris Laser Studio to the winner! There is enough interest for a small tournament, so I'm setting it up. If anyone sees this in time and would like to participate, visit and read https://skudpaisho.wordpress.com/tournaments/

Cyril said

at 3:56 am on Feb 17, 2017

Very nice, I would love to participate in this tournament. I can't wait!

Skud said

at 5:04 am on Oct 16, 2020

Just a quick update. The Garden Gate is very busy, and there was a Skud Pai Sho tournament with over 50 players, much excitement and livestreaming, quite fun! Also now on SkudPaiSho.com you can use the "Pai Sho Playground" "game" to playtest nearly anything you can think of and can create game setups to quickly share with others to playtest. People have used it to play Nick Pai Sho, their own games, it could be used to play Wiki Pai Sho or The Lotus Gambit rules, etc.

Cyril said

at 6:02 am on Oct 16, 2020

That's good to hear. I'm very impressed by the success of your website and the size of that tournament. It's definitely something I wouldn't have expected, or maybe even considered impossible. Hearing of your new playground feature is certainly pleasant, although I think the problem plaguing at least the Lotusgambit rules was never a lack of opportunities to play online. Nonetheless, I will check it out.

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