Vagabond Pai Sho

There is an amazing fanfiction work that features Pai Sho called Gambler and Vagabond. Vagabond Pai Sho is the Pai Sho variant seen in that story. Once you read it (download the epub here), you will definitely want to try playing this in real life. These rules have been compiled in collaboration with the author of Gambler and Vagabond and published here with permission.

You can also play online at The Garden Gate!

Rules Downloads and Translations

Like learning from videos? Watch the How to Play Vagabond Pai Sho video by @SkudPaiSho for an overview of the rules and to see examples of how the pieces work.


Each player has a full set of tiles. A full set consists of:

  • White Lotus x1
  • Sky Bison x2
  • Badgermole x2
  • Wheel x2
  • Chrysanthemum x2
  • Fire Lily x1
  • White Dragon x1


Players sit at the Pai Sho board so that the long edge of one of the large triangles in the center square of the board is facing you, with the small red triangles of the board in the left and right corners.

Playing the Game

  • Players alternate taking turns
  • On a turn, you may either deploy a tile onto the board or move one of your tiles
  • You win if you capture your opponent’s White Lotus tile or if your opponent forfeits

Tile Movement

Tiles are played on the points (intersections). When tiles move on the board, they always move along the diagonal lines of the board unless specifically stated otherwise.

Capturing Tiles

  • You can’t capture Flower Tiles until your White Lotus has been deployed
  • You can’t capture non-flower tiles until both players’ White Lotus tiles have been deployed

White Lotus Tile

  • Flower Tile
  • Can move one space

Sky Bison Tile

  • Deployed on the point inside of the small red triangles in the corners of the board
  • Can move up to six spaces, turning any number of times
  • Cannot move if an opponent’s Chrysanthemum tile is adjacent to it – including during movement – that is, a Sky Bison cannot move through a point that is adjacent to an opponent’s Chrysanthemum, which also means it cannot capture a Chrysanthemum
  • Can capture other tiles
  • If a Sky Bison has moved off of its starting point and is not blocked by a Chrysanthemum, it has a territorial zone. This zone is the size of the area the tile can move within. Opponent’s Sky Bison tiles are not allowed in this zone.

Badgermole Tile

  • Can move only one space in any direction OR move directly adjacent any Flower Tiles if that Flower Tile is in the Badgermole’s “line of sight” (meaning, the tiles lie on the same line with no other tiles in between)
  • Flower Tiles adjacent to a Badgermole tile belonging to the same player are protected from capture

Wheel Tile

  • Can move any number of spaces forwards, backwards, left, or right across the spaces of the board as opposed to diagonally on the lines
  • Can capture other tiles

Chrysanthemum Tile

  • Flower Tile
  • Cannot move
  • Freezes opponent’s Sky Bison tiles in place when adjacent

Fire Lily Tile

  • Flower Tile
  • Cannot move
  • Enables deployment of White Dragon

White Dragon Tile

  • Can be deployed in a 5-space area around the Fire Lily
  • Can move anywhere inside that 5-space Fire Lily zone
  • Can capture other tiles