- 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).
|"I always tried to tell you that Pai Sho is more than just a game."|
|— Iroh to Zuko.|
Pai Sho ( is a two-player game that is popular throughout the world, appealing to people of all ages. Dating back to the era of Raava, legend has that it was invented by the spirits, 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.)
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.
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, 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. Known tiles of the game include the White Lotus and the Blue Lotus.
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.
White lotus tile
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. 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.
Order of the White Lotus
Pai Sho held an important existence in the Order of the White Lotus, with many of its members using the game as a secret method of communication throughout its history. The game allows for experts to strategize and pass information to each other out in the open, without anyone else knowing what is being communicated.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The creators also included the detail in the game's rulebook about the numerous variations in how Pai Sho has been played as a tribute to the many fanmade versions of Pai Sho.
- The "blind bag gambit" gameplay is a style of Pai Sho usually only employed by people who are cheating.
- Avatar Kuruk had secret strategies that allowed him to win; he only eventually disclosed them to his closest companions.
- Yun owned forty-four Pai Sho boards.
- Play styles are often discussed by masters to be as individualistic and recognizable as a signature, an identity contained within the board.