The classic board game Othello is sometimes (incorrectly) referred to as Reversi in order to get around the Trademark. My first experience playing it was the preloaded version of ‘Reversi’ that came on Windows XP. You would play with anonymous strangers on the internet, in a time before we knew the risks of letting children chat with random people online. It didn’t take very long for me to learn the rules and strategies, and I was quickly bagging wins.
I managed to pick up an authentic Othello board and counters second hand from somewhere – I actually have no idea how it came into my possession. I taught my mum to play when I was a teenager and we played almost daily for years. We sometimes played for hours, fairly well matched and each admiring the other’s logic and strategy. Our moves eventually became predictable to a degree so we often had to change the way we played to keep up with each other. No two games are the same.
Since I left home eight years ago I have only played a handful of games with my mum, but she gave me a brand new Othello board for Christmas the year I moved out and I taught Dave to play, and now I am (slowly) teaching our son to play. We never finish a game because he gets upset at the big losses but I think in a couple of years he will be beating me!
Playing the Game
The object of the game is simple – fill the board with as many of your colour as possible by taking the opponent’s pieces. It is a logic and strategy game where you have to think several moves ahead, you can be winning one second and losing by the end of your opponent’s next turn.
You start the game with four counters in the middle in a square, 2 black and 2 white. You take it in turns to place your counters, starting with black. With each move the player must ‘take’ at least one of their opponent’s pieces by placing their own next to or diagonally from it. For the move to be valid, the player’s piece must line up with another of their pieces with a solid line of the opponent’s pieces in between.
How many people can play? This is a two player game only. It can’t be played alone or with more people, although you can play against AI here.
How difficult is it to play? 3/10 – The rules are simple enough, the difficulty really depends on your opponent!
Is it child friendly? Yes, the suggested age is 7+ but it really depends on the child. Some younger children might be able to ‘get’ it and some older kids might struggle.
How can I play? The traditional board and counters is my favourite, face to face with your opponent. It can be played digitally against opponents or AI.
I absolutely love Othello and I am definitely going to make more of an effort to play it with my mum much more often and turn to it on days when I have just had enough of screen time. I have always found it to be very grounding, a couple of rounds will clear your head of anything else. It really is a perfect game for two.