A Great British Board Game: Othello

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Othello, initially called Reversi, was invented over 100 years ago in 1883. It’s not certain who invented the board game, it’s a toss up between Englishmen John W. Mollett and Lewis Waterman who accused each other of being a fraud. It could have been somebody else altogether, but it was invented in England.

It is a really good game that uses some abstract strategies. Othello is played by 2 players using a board that has 8 rows and columns and a set of unique pieces for each player. The pieces are small smooth discs with one side is a light shade and the other side dark. One player has the light side the other dark. The aim of the players is to compete to have the most discs show their side or colour by turning over as many of their opponent’s pieces as they can. Othello the board game can be bought in shops or online, usually from £16 upwards.

As the game progresses and the players continue to make their moves, they have to trap the other one’s discs in a way that the discs can’t escape being captured. Be aware that your opponent is free to do the same and it becomes a kind of a deception. The discs will continue to show your colour or your rival’s colour every now and then as the game moves and at the finish the winner is the one who has the most pieces of his or her colour when no more moves can be made or pieces can be played on the Othello board.

In the beginning Reversi didn’t posses a well defined start position. In the board game, the rules say that Othello starts with four markers placed on a square in the centre of the grid, with two same colored discs placed diagonally opposite, belong to the same player and the other two belonging to the other player. This means that two diagonally opposite discs will be of the same color. The player with the darker shade plays or begins first.

A company called Texwood used the Othello board game to advertise for its Apple Jeans in Hong Kong. The game was given a new title as “Ping Guo Qi” or Apple Chess. The success of the advertising campaign increased the popularity of Othello board game by at least 10%.

The game gained in popularity in England during the late 19th century and was mentioned publicly for the first time on August 21st 1886 in “The Saturday Review”.

A little later it was also mentioned in an article written in the New York Times in 1895 named – Reversi is something like Go Bang, and is played with 64 pieces. In 1893, Ravensburger, a widely known German publisher of board games began producing the classic Othello board game as one of his first titles. It is a great game to set your mind to and gives great satisfaction if you win of course!

Othello is a good choice as a birthday or Christmas gift for board game lovers aged 7 and over who like to play strategic games. You never know the recipient could go on to take part in international tournaments. Click here to find out more.

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