The following section will briefly explain the various styles of Pai Sho currently recognized by IPSA.
All currently recognized styles of Pai Sho are listed in IPSA’s Pai Sho: Official Rules & Gameplay and are as follows:
Basic Pai Sho
Basic Pai Sho is the standard Pai Sho style recognized by the International Pai Sho Association (IPSA) and the Order of the White Lotus. Unless stated otherwise, Basic Pai Sho is the version you will be playing in any major IPSA sanctioned event.
Basic Pai Sho is a simplified version of Ancient Pai Sho. It was modified to make the game easier to learn and quicker to play in an attempt to bring Pai Sho into the competition environment.
Iroh Pai Sho
Iroh Pai Sho is a version of Pai Sho focused not on the capture of the opponent’s pieces, but reaching harmony with your own. General Iroh of the Fire Nation and Grand Lotus of the Order of the White Lotus, developed this version of Pai Sho during his travels with his nephew, Fire Lord Zuko. Its focus is that of humility, peace, and composure.
Iroh Pai Sho is commonly played during formal events held by the Order of the White Lotus. Most sanctioned IPSA events will not hold official tournaments for Iroh Pai Sho.
3-Piece Pai Sho
3-Piece Pai Sho, also know as Street Pai Sho, is a popular, fast-paced style of Pai Sho. Originally developed as a way to play many games of Pai Sho quickly with a small learning curve, 3-Piece Pai Sho was quickly adopted as a popular choice among travelers, taverns, and hotels. 3-Piece Pai Sho focuses on using your offensive tiles to attack and trap your opponents defensive tiles.
Modern Pai Sho
Modern Pai Sho was created when a group of people asked the Avatar to create a standardized style of Pai Sho. Tired of being confused by the multiple ways to play Pai Sho this small group sent many requests to the Avatar hoping she would create a standard for the game. This spawned what we call Modern Pai Sho.
Modern Pai Sho is based on a Rock-Paper-Scissors method using the Four Nations as the driving forces. The goal is to reach the Spirit Portal at the center of the board with your White Lotus tile. Modern Pai Sho is the IPSA’s most common style. Because of its easy to learn rules, and quick gameplay, Modern Pai Sho is used as the introduction to IPSA tournaments. Modern Pai Sho is what most local IPSA events will compete with.
Skud Pai Sho
Skud Pai Sho is the most popular style of Pai Sho. It is a slightly simplified and more elegant take on Basic Pai Sho. Developed as a way to make Pai Sho more accessible to those interested in the higher level competitive play, Skud Pai Sho has an easy to learn ruleset while maintaining the complexity you find in Basic Pai Sho.
Due to its perfect adoption of Basic Pai Sho for a medium level competitive field of play, Skud Pai Sho is the official style used at Regional and National IPSA Tournaments. Along with Regional and National Tournaments, Skud Pai Sho is represented at the IPSA World Championships. Skud Pai Sho is the perfect style if you are looking to join the competitive world of Pai Sho.
Ancient Pai Sho
Ancient Pai Sho is the oldest recorded way to play Pai Sho. It is believed to date back to the time of Avatar Wan. Unlike the more modern styles of Pai Sho, Ancient Pai Sho is played almost exclusively during ceremonial events. the International Pai Sho Association does not have a sanctioned Ancient Pai Sho event, but it is occasionally played by some participants while waiting for other events to begin. The Order of the White Lotus holds an annual tournament using Ancient Pai Sho. Only Grand Lotus’ may enter, but it is one of the most rewarding competitions.