# How to Play Othello: 11 Steps (With Pictures): 11 Steps

Othello was created in the 19th century. This game for two is fairly easy to learn, but takes a very long time to master. This article will explain some of Othello's basic rules and strategies.

## Step

### Part 1 of 3: Setting Up and Playing Othello

#### Step 1. Prepare the board and the pawns

Othello is played on an 8x8 checkerboard and uses 64 pieces, one side of which is black and the other is white. The first player plays the black pawn while the second player plays the white pawn. Place 4 pieces in the center of the board: 2 black and 2 white (same color diagonally side by side).

• Usually the black pawn player goes first; in other versions, the first turn is determined by both players.
• Modern versions of Othello require this kind of prefix on every game set. In the older version, Reversi, the first 4 pieces are arranged at will by the player.
• Othello online is just as popular as the physical version. The rules are the same for both online and physical Othello.

#### Step 2. Place the first piece in the square surrounding the opponent's piece

To “encircle” a pawn means to flank a line of opponent's pawns with two of your pawns. A “row” can consist of one or more pieces lined up horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

### For example, the first player places a black pawn in a square that surrounds the white piece vertically or horizontally, since it is impossible to surround the white piece diagonally (assuming, black gets the first turn)

#### Step 3. Flip the surrounded pieces over to change their color

Once surrounded, the pawn is reversed in color and becomes the property of the opposing player. Continuing the example in the step above, the encircled white pawn is flipped over and becomes the property of the black pawn player.

#### Step 4. Switch turns with your opponent

Opponents place a second pawn in a square that surrounds at least one of the first player's pieces. Assuming the second player plays a white pawn, he positions one of his pawns so that at least one black pawn is flanked by two white pawns, then flips the pawn to white. Note that rows can be horizontal, diagonal, or vertical.

### Part 2 of 3: Ending the Game

#### Step 1. Keep switching turns until there are no more valid moves

For a move to be considered valid, a pawn must always be placed in a position that surrounds a row of opposing pawns. If a legal move is impossible, your turn is skipped until a legal move is available to you. If both players are unable to make a valid move, usually because the box is full, the game is over.

• Pawns can surround your opponent's pieces from several directions and you need to flip them all simultaneously.
• If a valid move is available, you are prohibited from missing a turn even if it is a profitable move.

#### Step 2. Determine the time limit

Another way of ending the game is to set a time limit for each player's total turn. This means that the game may end before the player runs out of valid moves and the tempo of the game tends to increase. Timing is executed when the player plays his turn and is stopped when the turn passes to the opponent. In the world championships, each player is given 30 minutes, but players can set a minimum time limit of 1 minute if they like faster tempo games.

#### Step 3. Count the number of pieces of each color

After the steps are finished, count the number of pieces of each color. The player with the more number of pieces is the winner.

### Part 3 of 3: Learning the Basic Strategy

#### Step 1. Try to get a stable pawn position

While flipping your opponent's pieces as much as possible may at first seem like the key to victory, it actually makes your position more vulnerable. Most positions on the board can be besieged; the positions of the edges and corners are stable.

#### Step 2. Try to grab a position in the corner of the board

This position cannot be surrounded and is very advantageous because it protects many of your pieces from being surrounded from corners. Getting a corner position is usually enough to turn things around.

### Avoid placing your pawns in the squares that are right next to your corner position, as this will allow your opponent to surround you and take that corner

#### Step 3. Think ahead when placing pawns

Instead of simply trying to flip more pieces in one go, estimate your opponent's move after this. Even if you manage to flip a lot of pieces, your opponent can retaliate with moves that flip more pieces.

#### Step 4. Try to trap your opponent while avoiding the trap

As your skills improve, you can set up traps for your opponents, just like in a game of chess. Start by estimating what moves your opponent will take, then force him to make moves that are in your favor. Of course, you need to be careful when dealing with a skilled opponent, because he might as well do the same!

## Tips

• The most important box to master after the corner position and the box next to it is the edge of the board. On the other hand, the row after the side row can be dangerous because the opponent can play his pawns in the outer row and then take the pawns from the inner row.
• To help remember which pieces need to be flipped after you've made a move, touch the piece you just placed while you're flipping your opponent's pieces. It is possible that you will need to flip a piece in all eight directions at once.
• The Othello scramble strategy is similar to the game Go and Pente; the difference is, in Othello the pieces are flipped, not removed from the board.
• The 64 pieces are shared by both players. Therefore, it is impossible for players to run out of pawns if they can still move.
• Illegal moves (example: flipping an opponent's piece that is not surrounded) can be corrected as long as the opponent has not made his turn.