You know a game is successful when you see it marketed and sold in stores…and has been for over a hundred years. Othello (originally called Reversi) was invented back in the late 1800s and is very simple to play. In fact, I remember seeing this game advertised on television with the tagline, “a minute to learn, a lifetime to master.” I honestly couldn’t sum it up any better.
The game board is an eight by eight grid. The pieces in the game are black on one side and white on the other. Throughout the game, pieces will be flipped on the board to the other color. The object of the game is to have the most of your color on the board when the game is over. The game is over when all of the spaces on the board have been filled, like in the above picture.
Players take turns placing a piece on the board, their color face up. Their goal is to try to “sandwich” enemy pieces in between two of their own…that is, between one of their existing pieces on the board and the one that they are attempting to place. Any enemy pieces in between are flipped to the other color. Play goes back and forth with a new piece added each turn. A player must place a piece on the board that sandwiches and flips at least one enemy piece. If a player can’t, they pass and their opponent gets to go again. As mentioned above, once the last piece is placed and the affected pieces are flipped, the game is over and the pieces are counted. Whoever has the most of their color wins.
What do I think of Othello? Excellent, excellent game. In my opinion, the games that are easy to play but take a while to master are the ones worth investing in. I have games sitting in my cupboard that I have to sit and read the directions for every time I bring it out to make sure I have all of the game’s mechanics covered. Deeper, more complex games that take a while to play are only appealing to play when you have the time and patience to do so. Simpler games like Othello can be brought out and played within fifteen minutes, if that, with minimal cleanup required.
The target market for this kind of game is anyone with a pulse that enjoys board games at all. That goes for kids and adults alike. In fact, I first learned how to play Othello when I received the electronic version as a gift for my Nintendo Entertainment System back in the late 1980′s. I was under ten years old at the time.
That’s not to say everyone will enjoy it, but those who are looking for a quick game that would still pick at their brain would do well to pick this game up.
Final Verdict: 8/10