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How To Play Othello: Othello Game Rules

Overview

Othello is a fun strategy board game that involves players placing their discs strategically to outflank and capture their opponent’s discs. Discs are captured when they are blocked at both ends of a row by opponent discs. A row can be diagonal, vertical, or horizontal and any number of discs can be captured at a time. The game is easy to learn and play. If you like strategy board games, you will almost certainly fall in love with Othello. Continue reading this post to learn how to play Othello.

Objective

Have the most discs on the board at the end of the game by outflanking and capturing your opponent’s discs. Outflanked discs must be flipped over to the other side.

Othello Game Rules

The following Othello rules guide how the game is played.

.The player playing with the black discs must start the game.

.You can only outflank your opponent’s discs as a direct result of a move.

.Discs are captured when they are blocked at both ends of a row by opponent discs.

.A row can be diagonal, vertical, or horizontal and any number of discs can be captured at a time.

.A player that is unable to make a valid move must pass up their turn. Only when a player cannot make a valid move can they pass up their turn. A player must place a disc if they can do so.

.A player that can still make valid moves but has run out of discs must collect one disc from their opponent and play. The player can keep collecting discs from their opponent so far they have valid moves on the board.

.The game ends when both players are out of valid moves.

Number of Players Needed

Only 2 players are needed to play a game of Othello.

Equipment

A square 8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm) checkered board

64 double-sided black and white discs (the discs are white on one side and black on the other side)

Setting Up

Place two discs of each colour in the centre of the board. The discs must alternate, i.e. white, black on one row, and then black, white on another row. The black disc is played first and this gives some advantage to the player playing with the black disc. To reduce this advantage and make the game more even, the less experienced player should be allowed to play the blacks. If both players have the same level of experience, then a coin may be flipped to determine who goes first.

After deciding which player plays the black discs and who plays the whites, share the remaining 60 discs to the players evenly. Each player gets 30 discs plus the two they have on the board.

How to Play Othello Board Game

Othello is a strategy game that requires players to be very smart with their moves. The player with the black discs goes first. Players take turns to place their disc on the board but the discs must be placed alternately. A black disc must be placed after a white disc and vice-versa. Note that once a disc has been placed on the board, it must stay on that space until the end of the game.

The game’s objective is for players to outflank each other’s discs by placing discs strategically. This is because once you outflank your opponent’s disc or row of discs, the discs are captured and must be flipped over to your colour. The flipped discs become yours and remain so for as long as they stay on your colour. A disc or row of discs is outflanked if it is surrounded at both ends by discs of the opposite colour. 

You can only outflank your opponent’s discs as a direct result of a move. This means that you must already have one of your discs at one the end of the row before placing another disc at the other end of the same row on your current turn to outflank all your opponent’s discs that are now in between two of your discs.  A row can be diagonal, vertical, or horizontal and any number of discs can be outflanked and flipped.

Players continue taking turns, placing discs and outflanking each other’s discs. If a player is unable to make a valid move on their turn, they must pass up their turn and play moves to the other player. Players must take their turn and play a disc if it is possible to do. Only when a player cannot make a valid move can they pass up their turn.

If a player can still make valid moves but they are out of discs, they must collect one disc from their opponent and play it. The player must keep collecting discs from their opponent so far they have valid moves on the board. This ensures that the game goes on for as long as possible as a game of Othello only ends when both players are out of moves.

A time limit for a player’s total moves may be incorporated into the game to make the game progress faster. Each player is given a time limit for all their moves, say 30 minutes for example. The timer starts counting down at the beginning of the player’s first move and is paused once they complete that turn. The timer again starts counting down at the beginning of their next turn and is paused once that turn is over. This keeps going on until the player’s time has elapsed and they can no longer make moves on the board. Each player will have a separate timer. Introducing a time element to the game adds more pressure and ensures the game ends quickly without waiting for both players to necessarily run out of moves.

If there is a wide gap in the experience level of two players involved in a game of Othello, the more skilled player may give a 1, 2, 3, or 4 corner advantage to their less-skilled opponent. This means that at the start of the game, the less experienced player is allowed to place a disc each on 1, 2, 3, or the 4 corners of the board depending on how wide the difference in skill is. Now that you know how to play Othello, you can include it in your plans your next game night.

Winning the Game

At the end of the game, players count the number of discs of their colour that are on the board. The player that has the most discs on the board is the winner.

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