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This article is about the board game mentioned in the series. For the Nick.com video game reinterpretation of the game, see Pai Sho (video game).

This is the initial layout of a game of Pai Sho.

Pai Sho (牌數)[2] is a two-player game that is popular throughout the world, appealing to people of all ages. Dating back to the era of Raava,[3] legend has that it was invented by the spirits,[4] and the game has remained popular among people all over the world since that time. It is a game of both strategy and chance, with each culture having developed its own rules and variations of the game.[2]

The white lotus tile from the game plays a central role in the workings of the Order of the White Lotus, as the group derived their name from it as well as used it to communicate in secret with other members prior their existence being publicly revealed at the end of the Hundred Year War.[1]

Rules

Here is an overhead view of a Pai Sho game.

Pai Sho is played on a large, circular board split with as many as twelve sections, and divided into grid of colored squares. This grid can be limited to 10x10 squares,[5] or have as many as 18x18. Round tiles are used as pieces, with each tile having a different image. Players receive a certain number of tiles which are placed and moved around the board. Depending on the rules, a player has as many as sixty tiles, which can be placed on over two hundred spots on the board.[5] Known tiles of the game include the White Lotus[6] and the Blue Lotus.[7]

Over the years, the rules of the game varied from culture to culture; for instance, some consider the game to be a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat game of chance, whereas others see it as a slow, methodical game of strategy.[2]

White lotus tile

White lotus tile icon.png

The white lotus tile, like all Pai Sho tiles, is a round, black, circular piece about one-and-a-half inches in diameter. It is identified by the image of a large white flower that takes up most of the tile. According to Iroh, many underestimate its importance. Iroh once took time away from Zuko's search for the Avatar to pick up a new tile at the seedy merchants pier.[6] The tile was also utilized in Aang's Pai Sho game with Monk Gyatso, during which the latter attempted to inconspicuously switch the lotus tile with the piece that the Avatar had formerly placed. Additionally, a white lotus tile was given to Sokka by his swordmaster, Piandao, after the former successfully completed his swordsmanship training; the emblem on the gate to Piandao's estate also resembled the tile.[8]

Order of the White Lotus

In a bar at the Misty Palms Oasis, Iroh played a game with another White Lotus member, Fung, as a way of identifying himself as part of the society. The key to recognition between members includes scripted dialogue revolving around the opening move of placing a certain tile, the white lotus, in the center of the board, followed by the rapid placement of pieces in an exact pattern that mirrors the central piece.[1]

Notable players

Trivia

  • Pai Sho bears a resemblance to the board games Go, Chinese checkers, straight checkers, and Xiangqi.
  • According to Zuko, Pai Sho can be used for gambling.[1]
    • The name of the game mimics that of the Chinese tile game Pai gow, through which gambling can also be performed.
  • A large Pai Sho table can be found at the Western Air Temple.[22]
  • The rock tile's symbol is the same as the Earth Kingdom's emblem.
  • Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko made up Pai Sho without thinking out all of the rules. The actual rules were thought out by the people of Nickelodeon when they designed an online game of Pai Sho for fans to play.[23]
  • The "blind bag gambit" gameplay is a style of Pai Sho usually only employed by people who are cheating.[5]
  • Avatar Kuruk had secret strategies that allowed him to win; he only eventually disclosed them to his closest companions.[5]
  • Yun owned forty-four Pai Sho boards.[24]
  • Play styles are often discussed by masters to be as individualistic and recognizable as a signature, an identity contained within the board.[5]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (July 14, 2006). "The Desert". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (August 1, 2014). "The Stakeout". The Legend of Korra. Book Three: Change. Episode 9. Nick.com.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 18, 2013). "Beginnings, Part 1". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (November 8, 2013). "A New Spiritual Age". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Five, "Revelations". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  6. 6.0 6.1 O'Bryan, John (writer) & Lioi, Anthony (director). (April 29, 2005). "The Waterbending Scroll". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 9. Nickelodeon.
  7. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game Backerkit FAQ!. Kickstarter (November 10, 2021). Retrieved on November 11, 2021.
  8. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (October 12, 2007). "Sokka's Master". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (June 3, 2005). "The Storm". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  10. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Twelve, "The Fire Sage". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  11. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Sixteen, "Resignation". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  12. 12.0 12.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 28, 2012). "The Voice in the Night". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  13. Throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  14. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Three, "The Boy From Makapu". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  15. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Thirty-Two, "Hauntings". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  16. 16.0 16.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 21. Nickelodeon.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Quickstart, Version 1.0, 2021, p. 31.
  18. Avatar: The Last Airbender: Legacy of the Fire Nation, page 13.
  19. Hamilton, Joshua; Matte, Johane (artist), Matte, Johane (artist), Kim, Hye-Jung (colorist), Comicraft (letterer). "Bumi vs. Toph, Round One" (2009), Nickelodeon Comics Club.
  20. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Eight, "Ancient History". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  21. Avatar: The Last Airbender: Legacy of the Fire Nation, page 55.
  22. Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch, Hedrick, Tim (writers) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (July 14, 2008). "The Western Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  23. Ian Graham on the spirit of an episode commentary for "The Stakeout".
  24. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Six, "Promises". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.

See also

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