By Vulmen See other fanon and fan fiction works from Vulmen.
Pai Sho

A game of Pai Sho.

Pai Sho is a two player strategy game. This nostalgic board game has survived centuries of play and is enjoyed worldwide by all nations.


The game itself was created for the sole purpose of uniting those of different cultures together under one common ideal, with the purpose of creating a kindred spirit throughout humanity. The game itself was developed by Air Nomads, who spread their game for no cost throughout the kingdoms.

The Air Nomads of the Western Air Temple built an expansive Pai Sho table exclusively for Air Nomad leisure and practice. Occasionally the nuns from this temple would host a gathering for all Air Nomads to convene and engage in a sporting tournament. Once their game had taken root in other nations' cultures, they revisited the world's cities and hosted miniature tournaments with the locale. Eventually bringing in newer players, and identifying those with a unique skill for the game, a tournament league began shortly afterward. Their idea for uniting the world in friendship had been a pleasant success.

Eventually the game grew on to take a shape of its own, new cultural aspects began mixing into the game and adding new strategies and tiles. Each nation had unique tile sets, but something was still missing. The game had crossed every nations' border, but it still did not cover everybody. With this in mind, the monks introduced a new set of tiles, in honor of those who could not bend.



This game is not a game to be played by oneself, however it is possible if the player decides to control each hand. Some monks did this intentionally to further their cognitive process and skill with the game, having to analyze each move with grave difficulty to counter their own moves to debunk their own plans.

Most typically however this game is played with two players opposing one another. Though expert players have joined to play four at a time, though this never caught on to tournament level.


The board itself is comprised of two main sections, the outer circle and the inner circle. Each section holds numerous squares that serve as positions the players may place or move their tiles.

The outer circle is comprised of eight sections, four of which are perfectly centered at the intersections of the board where players would sit if they joined in. These sections are extremely small, being only four tiles large. They are mostly for decorative purposes but also serve as a safety zone where attacking and defending elements are treated neutral, none having a particular benefit or handicap over the other.

The eight other sectors, four located in both the outer and inner circles, fill the rest of the game board. Each of these sectors are typically sought to be controlled, as having control of sectors can provide benefits to gameplay. The benefits vary, depending on the rules in effect for that particular game.


Each player begins with forty tiles in their stock, randomly selecting eight to place in their hand. Each tile has a decorative image or pattern to set it apart from others. Each tile also has varying attributes specific to that piece, which can be found in a small carved tab set into the tile itself and accessible by pulling out the carved tab, located by a simple notch in the side of the piece.

The attributes, and abbreviations, of each tile are move (mv), attack (atk), defense (def), element (ele) and link (lnk). The rule of thumb for each attribute is the higher the number, the better, save for element which depicts which type of element the piece is: physical, water, earth, fire or air.

Pieces attack and defense have a straightforward role, if the attack is higher than defense the defending piece loses. However if the attacking element is the tile's element, fire on fire, the attack is halved. On a special note; if a piece has more than one element, its attack and defense are applied to each given element. For example: atk 2, def 2, ele fire/air - the tile's total attack would be 4, its defense would remain 2 - but it halves both fire and air elemental damage instead of just one element.

If a tile's element is not provided, that field left empty, it deals non-elemental damage and cannot (typically) be resisted. Its resists are then reliant on if it has any special additions, or it otherwise takes normal damage from all elements.

Move is how far a piece may move at one time. Nothing more, nothing less.

Link is unique in that any piece may connect to that number of other pieces, for added special effects, skills, resistance, damage or defense. However poor choices can actually hinder a formation's effectiveness. One example could be a piece having move one among three other pieces with move seven - they will only be able to move one square at a time due to that one tile. Likewise rotating will be impossible, unless that tile is at the center and thus will not have to move more than one square to turn the formation. Formations may be broken apart just as they are joined.

Each piece can have specific resists, be it to elements or to reduced damage from link attacks, as well as specific bonuses. These are usually due correspondent to the tile's natural element, however spirits inherently take only one third normal physical attack. Many special tiles also have unique skills that may be used, the effects of which vary by skill. These skills usually have one of few varying effects such as; an instant effect that takes place the moment the skill is ativated (such as damage or moving farther than normal or even altering gameplay in some form), a buff or debuff that lasts for several turns on selected tile(s) or locations.

Additional Material

For advanced play, it may be the case that having a dedicated notebook to track the changing state of the game is imperative, as well as a handbook with all tiles' attributes, skills, special effects and best possible link choices and their results.


The game begins with the player laying a selected tile onto any one square in their half of the board, as their opponent must then perform the same. If there are more than two players these halves may overlap with their neighboring player. After this, control switches from one player to the other repeatedly allowing them to take one of several possible actions (such as draw a tile, lay a tile down, move a tile, attack, link or unlink tiles, use a tile or formation's activated skill), which all result in the end of their turn.

The player may position their tiles close together in order to join them in a linked formation. If a linked formation initiates an attack, it may deal combined elemental damage which may be more partially affected by the target's defenses. (e.g., 3 fire atk and 4 water atk is 7 atk total, but water resists can cut the water half of it down) Also, pieces adjacent to the target deal full damage, but for each square separating the target from the linked tile, one is deducted from that tiles added attack. A formation on defense uses the same principal with its defense.

Defense may be viewed as a form of health, as each time a piece or formation lasts an attack its defense is reduced based on the atk it received. Defense may be restored via skills or depending on rules in effect (defense gain each turn, or as a controlled sector's benefit). During simplified play this among many other rules tend to be relaxed.

Each player focuses on either eliminating their opponents pieces, or capturing sectors of the game board. Control of a sector is determined by the presence of the player's tiles outnumbering his or her opponent's tiles. Once a sector falls under a player's control, it remains as such even if the player moves their tile from the sector. A sector is lost as soon as his or her opponent holds a greater number of tiles for that sector.


The game ends when a player has no more tiles in play. It does not matter if the player has more tiles in stock, able to be played, but whether or not that player has even one active tile on the game board. This is viewed as total defeat.

A second, more strategic victory lies in total control of the game board. This is achieved by controlling all eight sectors of the game board for three consecutive turns.

Known Tiles

Physical Tiles

  • Tiger Seal

Water Tiles

  • Kalao(Spirit) : Mv 4; Atk 7; Def 3; Ele water; lnk 2
  • Deep Sea
  • Tidal Wave
  • Unagi

Earth Tiles

  • None shown

Fire Tiles

  • Blue Dragon

Air Tiles

  • Sky Bison

Unique Tiles

  • Hei Bai
  • Rainbow : Mv 1; Atk 1; Def 5; Ele water/earth/fire/air; lnk 2
    - 'Immune to physical'

Known Special Formations

  • Terror From the Deep (Kalao, Deep Sea, Tidal Wave)

See More

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