Pai Sho

Playing Materials

The Board


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. There are four outer triangles that are red, and the rest of the squares are yellow. A Pai Sho board has 256 spaces on it. Tiles are placed on the intersections, or “points”, of the board.


White Flowers

Red Flowers

Non – Flowers


Each player gets 54 tiles:

3 White Dragon

3 White Lotus

6 Jasmine

6 White Lilly

6 White Jade

6 Rose

6 Chrysanthemum

6 Rhododendron

3 Knotweed

3 Wheel

3 Rock

3 Boat




How To...


Two players sit across from each other at the red triangles, called ports. The port closest to you is called the "Home" port, and the port closest to your opponent is called the "Foreign" port. The center point is called the "Mid" port. The other two(2) are called the "East" and "West" ports.


The object of the game is to generate the most points, or harmonies, before you or your opponent creates a consistent chain of harmonies around the center of the board.


Starting the Game:

At the start of the game, you and your opponent must flip a coin to determine who gets to choose whether to do 1. Choose the first starting piece to place on the board or 2. Make the first move.

6 pieces each are now placed on the board, called the spring flowers. Placement is alternated between you and your opponent, and each player MUST place the same 6 pieces (so each player determines the placement of 3 spring flowers) in the same, but mirrored, position. Spring Flowers may NOT be placed on any of the ports.

You may ONLY place Spring Flowers on your side of the board. Red flowers cannot be placed in white spaces and white flowers cannot be placed in red spaces. 

Each player on their turn may make one of the following moves:

1. Move a piece already in play (If a non-flower, you may use its special ability after moved).

2. Place a new piece.

3. Use a non-flower tile’s special ability .

NOTE-You can't place a piece if the starting point is occupied by another piece, regardless if you can capture it.

Harmonies and Disharmonies:

Scoring is achieved by creating harmonies between pieces. To create a harmony, you must align two(2) pieces in a straight, uninterrupted line. Each harmony generates one(1) point, except in the special case, called a natural harmony, where a red flower in a red space harmonizes with a white flower in a white space, which generates two(2) points.

You may ONLY form harmonies with your own pieces, except in the special Blooming White Lotus case. 

A piece cannot create a harmony with another piece if either of them are on a starting point.

When beginning a game, pieces do not create harmonies. They must first be moved in order to create harmonies/disharmonies.

Disharmonies are created when you disrupt an opponents harmony with a piece that is disharmonious with either of the two(2) harmonizing pieces. When a disharmony is created, your opponent loses one(1) point, except in the special case when you disrupt a natural harmony, which causes your opponent to lose two(2) points.

Harmonies and Disharmonies will continue to generate points each turn they remain intact. 

Moving a Piece:

You may move any piece according to it's specific rules (See Tiles

You may not move a piece over an opponents piece, except with the White Dragon and the Boat piece.

You can't move a piece onto any of the ports.

A red flower may not end its move in a white space, and a white flower may not end its move in a red space. You may move them into spaces with both red and white in them.

Removing Tiles:

Landing on a tile may or may not remove it from the board. The following rules must apply.

1.) It must be a disharmonious tile (i.e. Jasmine may capture Rose).

2.) It must be your opponent’s tile.

3.) All captured pieces are placed into The Pot.

How to Score:

You can't create a harmony if the piece is on one of the starting points.

At the end of the game, each player tallies the points scored for all the harmonies they completed. Red flowers in red spaces and white flowers in white spaces in a harmony get one extra bonus point. All pieces that a player owns that is within 3 spaces from a White Lotus tile gains an extra point also. Each player then subtracts 1 point for each piece that they have on the board. The player with the most remaining points wins.

Remember, you get a point for every time you create a harmony, not just at the end of the game. Keep a tally of your points.

Ending The Game

The game ends when any of three conditions are met:

1.A player forms a chain of harmonies around the Center Point and wins the pot (Still count tiles to determine winner).

2. A player is left with only three harmonious tiles (which is too few to create a complete harmony chain) and the other player wins the pot (Still count tiles to determine winner).

3. A player forfeits and his or her opponent wins. 

The Pot:

The pot is the place where all of the pieces that were removed from the board go. Each player gets one(1) extra point for each of their opponents tiles in the pot. The player who "wins" the pot gets to claim any wager made at the start of the game.

You may wager ANYTHING for the pot. Usually, it is a number of extra points and/or money.

Counting Points:

In addition to the points accumulated throughout the game, you also gain extra points from the following:

1. Points from the pot.

2. For each flower you own on the board within 3 points of a White Lotus you own, you get one(1) extra point. These flowers are considered to be "protected" by the White Lotus.

3. For each remaining piece not protected, they are considered "dead" and you lose one(1) point for each on the board.


The player with the most total points at the end of the game (after counting points from the pot and those around a White Lotus) wins the game, though not always necessarily the pot!