Home » Board Games » How to Play Othello – A Fun Reversi Game

How to Play Othello – A Fun Reversi Game

Othello is a bit of a hidden gem. It doesn’t have the name recognition of games like Monopoly or Battleship, but it is a fun strategy game worth playing. The game also has a fascinating history. 

Before we take a look at the rules and outline how to play Othello, let’s look at what the game is all about. 

What is Othello?

Othello is actually based on the game of Reversi, which was created in the late 1890s. Reversi had quite the turbulent origin, with two Englishmen claiming to have created it. Much later, in the early 1970s, the game was revised and modernized in a number of ways. 

It then was rebranded as Othello. Othello was first patented in Japan and was described as an improved version of Reversi. While the two games are similar, they are played quite differently. 

In Othello, the objective is to get has many of your discs face up at the end of the game. 

You can think of it as a much bigger version of connect four in some respects. Discs come in two colors, black and white. Each player will have 32 discs at the start of the game. During the game, players will have to put down a disc on an empty space and outflank their opponent. 

Outflanking means you have put discs at either side of a line of your opponent’s discs. These lines can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal and can be any length. If you successfully outflank your opponent, then those discs are flipped over to your color. The game may seem simple, but there is a lot of strategy involved in winning. 

What You’ll Need To Play 

To play Othello, you’ll need a game board. Othello isn’t quite as popular as other board games like Clue or Scrabble, so it may be a little harder to find in stores. However, with a bit of searching, you should be able to find it, and you can always look online. 

This classic version of Othello from Spin Master would make a great choice. Before we talk about the rules and gameplay, let’s take a quick look at what’s included with an Othello game set, so you can understand how everything works. 

On Sale ”Othello

The Othello Board 

An Othello board will generally have 64 squares in an 8 x 8 design. Travel versions of the game will typically be smaller. Some manufacturers have made slightly larger or smaller boards as well. 

Othello Discs 

Othello will usually come with 64 discs; you will get 32 black and 32 white. In versions of the game with a bigger board, you’ll get more discs to ensure the board can be filled. While Othello can be played with children, it is advised they be seven and up because of the small disc size. 

Othello Rules and Gameplay 

Othello Rules and Gameplay

The Aim of The Game 

The aim of Othello is quite simple. You simply need to place more of your colored discs on the board than your opponent. While the gameplay seems simple enough, actually winning is a much more complex process. 

Othello, in many ways, is quite like Chess or Checkers. You’ll need to think carefully before making a move if you want to ensure you win! If you like strategy board games, then you’ll be sure to enjoy a game of Othello. So, let’s take a look at how the game works. 

The Set-Up 

The first thing to do in Othello is to choose your color. Under traditional rules, the person who chooses black will go first. There is no real advantage to going first, so you should feel free to choose whichever color you prefer. 

Make sure each player has the same number of discs, and then you can set up the board. One of the big differences between Othello and Reversi is that the board starts with some discs on the board. 

The four squares in the center of the board should have discs of each color carefully arranged. White discs should be placed on the top left and bottom right. The other two spaces should be filled with black discs. 

Make sure you do this as this gameplay decision gives Othello its own identity compared to Reversi. As already having the board partially set up means player’s will likely have a more intense and exciting game. 

Reversi may seem like it gives you more freedom by having a blank board. However, this means one player may instantly be able to get an advantage, and the game will likely be less fun as a result. 

The Play 

Playing Othello is quite simple. You simply place down a disc on your turn. Your aim is to get more of your discs on the board. Now, of course, the strategy comes in flanking your opponent. To flank your opponent, you will need to place one of your discs at either end of theirs. 

When you successfully flank your opponent, you can flip any of their discs to your color! You should aim to flank long lines of your opponent’s discs whenever possible. Because with a successful flank, you could quickly flip a lot of discs to your color. 

You can flank diagonally, horizontally, or vertically. Adding to the strategic gameplay is the fact that you can’t just place discs anywhere in Othello. The discs need to be placed in positions that could result in flanking your opponent. 

So, all discs will need to be placed near each other during gameplay. At some point during the game, you may be unable to make a move because of this. In Othello, this is expected and simply means you skip your turn. 

If this happens in Reversi, it means you lose the game! However, while you can miss your turn, you can’t voluntarily forfeit it. So, if you can make more (even if it’s an undesirable one), you must play it. 

The game continues till both players have used all their discs. When the game is over, you should count up the number of white/ black discs showing, and the player with the most will win the game. 

Othello Strategies 

Othello is a simple game on the surface but one that hides intricate strategic gameplay. Building a winning strategy will take time, and for beginners, you should focus on learning the basics and having fun. 

However, to help you out, we have outlined a few tips for you to remember. One of the most important things to remember for beginners is that corners are vital. You can’t flip discs in a corner, so you should try to get as many discs around the corners of the board as possible. 

The center of the board is where the play will start, and you should try to stay around this area as much as possible. Ideally, you should try to surround your opponent and box them in. This will put you at an advantage during the early game. 

Finally, don’t forget diagonals most players (especially beginners) will focus on vertical and horizontal lines of discs. But diagonals are your secret weapon and can help a lot, especially when it comes to taking your opponent by surprise.  

Othello – A Spectacular Strategy Game 

Othello is an excellent game for fans of strategy games like Stratego. The gameplay is the perfect blend of simple to learn but challenging to master. Building a winning strategy and outthinking your opponent is sure to be a thrilling experience. If you’re looking for a game that will really put your creative-thinking skills to the test Othello is for you. 

About Bar Games 101

Bar Games 101 is a website devoted to helping you learn about the best games to play with your friends. We review the games, research the rules, and uncover helpful tips and strategies.

Get our free guide to the 50 Best Bar Games.

Early Black Friday Deals are LIVE and so is our Curated List of Deals!