- 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).
Pai Sho is a two-player strategy game that is popular throughout the World of Avatar, 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. Pai Sho was used by the Order of the White Lotus to identify its members prior to the group's existence being publicly revealed.
The large, circular board is split into twelve sections divided by an 18x18 grid of colored squares. Round tiles are used as pieces; each tile has a different image. Players receive a certain number of tiles which are placed and moved around the board.
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. A white lotus tile was also given to Sokka from Master Piandao after the former was successfully trained in swordplay.
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.
- 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.