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Othello is a simple game that you play on our exclusive 36 by 36 in checkered board with 64 double-sided black and white discs. The game is easy to learn, but it takes time to master and develop your strategies for winning the game. If you have a game set and someone to play with, set up your board and get started!

Place 2 black and 2 white discs at the center of the board. One player plays discs black side up and the other plays white side up. The less experienced player should play the black pieces because black goes first and this provides an advantage. However, if you are both at the same level, then flip a coin to see who will play black. Place 4 discs in the center of the board so that 2 are black side up and 2 are white side up. Arrange the discs with the matching colors diagonal to each other.

  • Distribute the remaining discs evenly between you and your opponent. Each player should have 30 of the remaining discs.

Set up the board to give the inexperienced player the advantage. If you and your opponent are at the same level, then you do not need to place any additional pieces on the board. However, to level the playing field between an experienced and inexperienced player, start with more discs turned in the inexperienced player’s favor that cannot be flipped over, such as in the corners of the board.

  • In other words, set up the board as usual, but place 1 of the inexperienced player’s discs into each corner of the board to give them a 4 point lead. These discs cannot be flipped over, so it will make for a fairer game.

  • Do not place any additional pieces on the board beyond the ones you add to give the inexperienced player an advantage.

Allow the less experienced player to go first. Black always goes first in Othello, and the less experienced player should take this color. If the players are equal in skill level, then you may flip a coin to see who gets to be black, or allow the player who lost the last game to be black.

Place the first disc in a spot that surrounds an opponent’s disc. This is also known as "outflanking" in Othello. A "row" consists of one or more discs that form a line horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

  • For example, if the opponent has a disc next to 1 of your discs in a vertical row, then place a disc on the open side of their disc in the same row to outflank your opponent’s disc.

Flip the outflanked disc to its opposite side. Once a disc is outflanked, flip it over to the opposite color. This disc now belongs to you as long as it remains flipped on that side. However, the same disc may be turned over again if it is part of a row that is outflanked.

  • For example, if the disc was white before it was outflanked, then turn it to the black side after it is outflanked.

Pass the turn to your opponent to continue playing. Your opponent’s goal is also to place a disc in a spot that outflanks at least 1 of the first player’s discs. If the second player plays the white discs, they would place 1 of their discs at the end of a row. Your opponent should place their white disc so that a black disc is framed by 2 white discs on each side (or vice versa if you are playing white). Then, make sure your opponent flips the outflanked black disks to white.

  • Remember that the row can be horizontal, diagonal or vertical.

Tip: If desired, try placing a marker, such as a penny or chess piece, on the last disc you played to keep track of your moves. This may help make it easier for you to remember what you were working towards when it is your turn again.

Continue taking turns placing discs until a legal move isn’t possible. Always place discs in a position where they can outflank a row of the opponent’s discs. If this isn't possible, you must forfeit your turn until you can perform a legal move. If neither player can perform a legal move, then the game is over.

  • If a legal move is available, you may not forfeit your turn, even if it would be advantageous to do so.

ry to establish stable disc positions. While it might seem like flipping as many discs as possible is the key to victory, this actually makes you more vulnerable. Most positions on the board can be outflanked. The edges of the board and the corners are the most stable positions. Discs in the corners cannot be outflanked and discs along the edges are harder to outflank, so work towards getting discs in the edges and corners of the board.

  • Avoid playing discs in the spaces immediately next to the extreme corners or next to the edge rows whenever possible, as this gives your opponent the chance to outflank you and gain the corner position.

Give your opponent a disc to play if they run out. If you have skipped a few turns and your opponent has continued to play discs, then they may run out of discs before you do. If this happens, gameplay continues until neither of you can make another move. Give your opponent 1 of your remaining discs so they can make their move.

  • For example, if your opponent has played all 30 of their discs and you have 4 left, then give them 1 if they can make a legal move.

Count the number of discs of each color to determine a winner. Once there are no more legal moves, add up all of the discs of each color. The player with more discs of his color wins the game.

  • For example, if black has 23 discs on the board and white has 20 discs on the board, then black is the winner.

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