Long Ago

Paiko feels a bit like Japanese chess meets Chinese checkers during play, though we ultimately used neither for inspiration. Paiko actually heralds from a similarly named game in the tv show Avatar.

Spread thinly amongst Avatar's disparate and war-torn nations, a few tolerant but powerful elders shared a love for the game Paisho. In Paisho, players would trade blows or convey hidden messages by clacking down elaborate wooden tiles on a massive board. When game developer Mike saw the show as it aired several years ago, he was struck by an inexplicable need to recreate the drama and intrigue of that game. He was hooked on casting Paisho into reality!

Picture shows Paisho from Avatar.

Mike started by dreaming up a rule set and paring down the board size to give the game good speed and clarity. Getting a kick out of the game, a handful of Mike's friends and family joined in to help out. The team spent a few years casually play testing and rebooting the rule set until the game's flow and drama felt just right. After elaborating and polishing the rule set to give the game better depth, they simplified the rules as much as possible to make Paiko easily approachable for new players.

Then, pro-designer Marianne took over to make some incredible visuals. She made most of her artwork utilizing inspiration from Japanese woodblock prints and paintings. Following the theme, we named the creation "Paikō", humorously meaning "The Tile Lord" in Japanese, while still providing a hint of alliteration to its early roots. With an enjoyable rule set, pretty visuals and a snazzy name, Paiko was born!

The team then crafted a prototype board and tiles, and took them to PAX 2011. Once there, many play testers showed an earnest excitement for Paiko, which fueled the team to create this website.


Picture shows Paiko: Try it! .

Now, the origin story continues with you. We've created this site in the hopes you'll try Paiko, and tell us what you think. Positive comments are always appreciated, though it's your constructive criticisms we're truly after as they will help us improve Paiko still further. The team will give serious kudos to anyone who can find inconsistencies or create brokenly powerful strategies! Even if you don't intend to become a serious play tester, your first impressions and concerns are helpful to making Paiko as awesome a game as it can be. If something's on your mind, just shoot Mike a casual e-mail here (, or join in the conversations of the forum.