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Ancient Pai Sho

Page history last edited by Wuxia 13 years, 7 months ago Saved with comment

Uses a similar tileset as Wiki Pai Sho, but has different tweaks that I think are more fun and more intuitive

Played on the intersections as it is easier to trace long-range (dis)harmonies

Full set of (play-tested and fun) rules below


I haven't played this with more than 2 players but I don't see why it couldn't be played in that way with very easy modifications

(an in-progress game of Ancient Pai Sho)




  • 1 Pai Sho Board
  • A good mixture of tiles. The following is just what I have
    • 6x Jasmine (white flower ••• movement)
    • 6x Lily (white flower ¬ movement)
    • 6x White Jade (white flower ••••• movement)
    • 6x Rose (red flower ••• movement)
    • 6x Chrysanthemum (red flower ¬ movement)
    • 6x Rhododendron (red flower ••••• movement)
    • 3x Wheel
    • 3x Boat
    • 3x Coin
    • 3x Knotweed 
    • 3x Dragon
    • 3x Lotus 



    To be the player that lays the last tile that causes exactly a certain number of harmonies to be on the board.


How to Play



     To begin, decide the target number of harmonies for the board to win the game and the number of tiles in each person's "hand". A good rule to follow is through increasing primes. So if the total number of harmonies is going to be 3, the number in the hand should be 5. If 5 is to be the target harmony, then 7 tiles in hand is a good number. I have found this to work up until 11/13 at which point it doesn't really work so I had to go with 11/17. No one wanted to try a longer game than that because the time taken to complete the game increases exponentially as the number of harmonies increases.


     After the tiles for each player's hand have been randomly chosen, decide who will play first by using a random tile and having one player (typically either the host or the person who has won the most consecutive games of the pair) shuffle it behind their back and having the other player choose a hand attempting to guess which one contains the tile. If they are correct, they get to determine play order. The tile that was used to determine play order becomes the "centerpiece" and is placed at the center of the board. If it is a one-time effect tile (such as a boat, knotweed, or wheel) then the effect is lost, otherwise it is used just like a normally placed tile.


During Your Turn

     During a player's turn, they can either:


  • Draw and then Discard 1 tile
  • Or Place 1 tile AND Move 1 tile


Players are always able to place and move the same tile if they want to. Placing a special tile does not count as moving a tile even if it activates in some way e.g. you can place a wheel tile, rotate 180º and move one of the tiles that got rotated.


Any player can move any tile once it is on the board. Tiles do not "belong" to any given player once they have been placed


If at any point during your turn (or immediately following your last action) the target number of harmonies is reached, you win the game. It is possible to overshoot the required number of harmonies.


Flower Tiles



In Ancient Pai Sho, the white flower tiles can only be played on the red intersections and the red flower tiles can only be played on the white intersection. Any tile can be moved to any space however. An intersection is considered a certain color if a tile would be on that color while on the given intersection. If an intersection is both white and red, any tile can be placed there. If an intersection is white, red, and neutral any tile can be played there.


Flower tiles need not move the full distance of their movement. For purposes of this rule, L-shaped movement tiles move in their "L" first so that they cannot simply move 3 spaces in one direction



It's sometimes hard to remember the harmonies between the tiles, so I realized a set of rules that is easier (in my opinion) to remember than a set of relationships. The harmonies in Ancient Pai Sho are the same as Wiki Pai Sho.



  1. Flowers come in two colors: Red and White
  2. Flowers come in 3 different "Move Types": 3 Spaces (•••) L-Shaped (¬) and 5 Spaces (•••••)
  3. If two flowers share Move Type but do not share color, they create a disharmony
  4. Flowers with Move Type ¬ create a harmony with flowers of the same color and different Move Type
  5. Flowers with Move Type ••• create a harmony with flowers of opposite color and move type •••••
  6. Flowers with Move Type ••••• create a harmony with flowers of opposite color and move type ••• 


A harmony or disharmony is created when two flowers that create a harmony are on the same parallel. A flower interacts with only the first flower along its line, however, a single flower can have multiple harmonies and harmonies are not blocked by special tiles (with the exception of the coin)


Single Harmony



Two Harmonies




Special Tiles


Ship Tile

[Elemental Water: Mobility] To play the ship tile, put it in the location of another tile (any tile) removing that tile and placing it on any unoccupied intersection


Coin Tile

[Elemental Earth: Stability] The coin blocks all harmonies and disharmonies that would normally happen along that parallel.


Knotweed Tile

[Elemental Fire: Consumption] Knotweed "drains" any adjacent flower tiles so that they no longer have any of their properties. Flip them over to show this, but do not remove them from the board as no more tiles can occupy those spaces


Wheel Tile

[Elemental Air: Circular Motion] once played, can "rotate" any adjacent tiles along its face as many degrees as desired by the placer. 


Lotus Tile

[Yin/Yang Aspect: Chaos] changes all harmonies that happen on any of its four parallels into disharmonies. Changes any disharmonies that happen on any of its four parallels into harmonies. Can move up to two spaces


Dragon Tile

[Yin/Yang Aspect: Entropy] can move either 1 space or exactly 6 spaces. If it lands on a tile exactly, then the person who moved the dragon tile last can pick up the tile and add it to their hand










Comments (3)

[S]torm]Fox said

at 1:00 pm on May 16, 2011

I've got some questions about the Special tiles:
- Is it possible for the ship and wheel to move?
- Can you use the ship and wheel's ability only once?
- Does the lotus have to be parallel with a harmonious tile to take effect?

For your rule set ,it looks great ;3 I'm really going to play this a couple of times.

PoisonedHive said

at 5:42 am on Sep 4, 2015

I found this very informative .pdf here that can answer your question, you will want to look at pages 2 - 9 for the "Basic Pai Sho" rules

PoisonedHive said

at 5:43 am on Sep 4, 2015

Aren't there meant to be 4 red ports? All i see is the East & West ports being white

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