Othello board game
by The Beast!
(Boardgame Beast HQ)
Board game manufacturer:
Number of players:
The Othello board game doesn't take long to learn, but the possible strategies are endless. It's a fun and easy introduction to board game strategy for younger players and will not bore the rest of the family, either!
The game and gameplay
Othello is a seemingly simple game, because the Othello game rules are so straightforward. The board is 64 squares and the game pieces are black on one side and white on the other. There are 64 game pieces and at the end of the game, most or all of the board will end up covered in playing pieces.
The idea of the Othello game is to "surround" your opponent's pieces with your color. If you are black and there is a black game piece at one end of a line of white pieces, you can put your black piece at the other end of the line and turn all the pieces in the line to your color. Whoever has the most pieces at the end wins.
Sounds simple. What is neat is that you really cannot tell who is winning (unless you are aware of Othello strategy) until the very end of the game. A totally black board can turn mostly white in a couple of strategic moves.
The game begins with four pieces in the middle — two black and two white, arranged in a square, with the colors forming an X. White goes first and puts a piece down to flip one of the black pieces. Each move has to create a flip of some sort and if you have no moves, your opponent gets another move, until either the board is full or both players have run out of moves.
The architecture of the board is significant to the game. For example, if you take a corner, your piece cannot be flipped, so corners are strategically good, most of the time. The squares next to corners are dangerous because corners can so easily be taken via those squares.
With the right strategy, you can force your opponent to take moves he or she doesn't really want to take and give yourself an advantage.
Pros and cons
The Othello board game is an easy one to learn, unlike chess, where you have to master the moves of lots of different pieces and then various opening gambits. Yet it is a strategy game. Like chess, good Othello players anticipate what their opponents will be doing and play accordingly.
You can enjoy this game as a not-so-good player and it is enjoyable for the advanced player (as long as the beginner and the advanced player don't play each other!). Because the position on the board is everything, this is a game where you don't have to remember a complicated history: just look at the board and figure out where to go next. If you want to impress people and play more than one game at the same time, this is a good game for that.
Othello is a board game, but it's truly a strategy game. There is no luck in it, so it is not a good game for players with large differences such as an adult and a young child. It's impersonal and it doesn't even have the same potential for story-telling or narrative that even a chess set has because of its different characters.
When the Othello board game first came out, its slogan was "A moment to learn, a lifetime to master." This accurately sums up the game. It's a great strategy game and for a youngster, it would be a good starting point on the idea of strategy before moving into a more complex game such as chess.