How To Play Reversi – Rules, Gameplay & Strategy

Do you want to play a board game that requires you to think and strategize while fetching you a ton of fun? Reversi is for you!

Reversi is a classic board game that is played between two players. Played on an 8×8 grid, in this game, you take turns placing your colored discs to flank and flip the opponent’s pieces. The aim is to turn the opponent’s pieces into your own.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it? So, here’s everything you must to learn how to play Reversi games.

What is Reversi?

playig games, playable battle

Reversi is a two-player board game played on an 8×8 grid where players take turns placing their colored discs to capture and flip the opponent’s pieces. The goal is to have the majority of your discs facing up when the board is full. It’s an easy-to-learn yet strategically rich game that nurtures your critical thinking and adaptability. The gameplay of offense and defense keeps you fully engaged. Today, you will also find the online version of the game.

History of Reversi

Reversi is also known as the Othello game and has a fascinating history. The game’s modern form came into existence in the late 19th century in England. It was patented as Reversi in 1888 by two Englishmen, Lewis Waterman and John W. Mollett, and the game gained popularity.

In the 1970s, a Japanese company secured the rights and introduced it as the Othello game, the name by which it’s widely recognized today. It was named Othello, inspired by the Shakespearean play “Othello, the Moor of Venice.” The name was chosen for its association with a tragic story of love, jealousy, betrayal, and all the unfolding drama, which the game’s creators believed added a memorable dimension to the simple yet strategic gameplay. In fact, the green board is inspired by the green field where the battle took place.

Othello game is popular across the globe as it is a strategic classic. You also have tournaments and championships today. There are even online versions available.

How To Play Reversi?

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Whether you are playing Reversi online or offline, these are the standard rules you must follow. Take a look at how to play Reversi.

Number of Players

Reversi is a two-player board game and is designed for head-to-head play. Each player takes turns placing their colored discs on the board to capture and flip their opponent’s discs.

Who Plays First?

In Reversi, the player with the dark-colored pieces typically goes first. The dark discs are usually black, and the light-coloured pieces are often white.


Reversi games are played on an 8×8 grid. Basically, the board game has a straightforward setup for a new game. Each player has a set of discs- black and white. The game begins with four discs placed in the center in a square of alternating colors. You start moving these pieces on the board to start the game.

Objective of The Reversi Game

pieces wins, play reversi, one black piece

The objective of Reversi is to have the majority of your colored discs facing up on the game board when filled. The player with the majority of colored discs facing up on the game board when it is full is declared the winner. The game concludes when no more legal moves are left and the board is completely filled with discs.


In Reversi, the player with the dark discs usually goes first. You take turns placing one disc of your assigned color on an empty square on the board. A move is valid only if it results in the flipping of at least one of the opponent’s game pieces by trapping them between the newly placed disc and another disc of your color.

Discs can be flipped in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line. When you move around the opponent’s discs with your own on both ends, the trapped discs are flipped to your color. You can make multiple flips in a single move if the opponent’s discs are trapped in different directions.

The game continues until the entire board is filled with discs or no player can make a legal move. If players cannot make a legal move on their turn, they pass, and their opponent continues to play. The game ends when the board is full. The rules remain the same even if you are playing Reversi online against a computer opponent.

Reversi Game Tips and Tricks

playing othello, most pieces white

Now you know how to play the Reversi game. But now, let’s discover a few tips and tricks that will help you win effortlessly, even when the difficulty level is high.

Grab The Corners

In this game, nabbing those corner spots early is a smart move. Why? Because discs in the corners are tough to flip. Securing these spots isn’t just a short-term win but sets you up for the entire game. Opponents find breaking through these corners tricky, giving you a strategic edge. This holds true even if you are playing Reversi online with a computer opponent.

Edge Play

Just like with the corners, controlling the edges of the board in Reversi games is crucial. It limits your opponent’s options. Prioritize moves that secure and build along the edges. Securing and expanding along these edges allows you to control the pace and limit your opponent’s movement through the game. 

Think Ahead

When it comes to this board game, you need to be at least a couple of moves ahead in your mind. Look at all the available spots and understand the risks and rewards each move will fetch you. Try also to understand what your opponent will do when you go with a particular move. Thinking ahead is a crucial strategy that you must master.


Mobility is a key factor in Reversi’s strategy. A player with high mobility has greater flexibility and lets them adapt to developing game situations. By maintaining open pathways and avoiding overly clustered positions, you can dictate the flow of the game. You can try to control the central squares to increase your influence over the board. Central control gives you more options for moves and limits your opponent’s freedom. Also, try to avoid creating clusters of your own pieces. This helps maintain mobility because clustered pieces limit your options for future moves.

Limit the Number of Pieces

Limit the number of pieces you have on the board at the start of the game. Remember, there is no need to rush. A few pieces help you strategically control the flow of the game and set yourself up for a stronger mid and endgame. This strategy involves sacrificing a few pieces early on to gain control over key positions and improve mobility. By intentionally placing fewer pieces on the board in the early stages, you are sacrificing immediate control for better positioning. This can help you secure important corners, edges, or central squares that are crucial for the overall strategy.

Look For Opportunities

Make sure you maintain open spaces in the game. Why? Because if you run out of available spaces to place your pieces, you will lose a turn. This will your opponent an advantage. By leaving ample open spaces, you ensure that you always have options for placing your discs and can adapt your strategy based on how the game progresses.


How do you win in a Reversi game?

To win a Reversi game, aim to have most of your colored discs facing up when the 8×8 board is filled. In this game, players place their discs strategically and flip the other player’s pieces on the board to their assigned color facing up. It is always best to capture corners and edges for tactical advantages.

Is Reversi a solved game?

Hiroki Takizawa, a bioinformatician at Preferred Networks in Japan, has reportedly achieved a breakthrough in solving Othello or Reversi.

What is the difference between the Othello game and Reversi?

Othello and Reversi are the same game. Previously, it was known as Reversi before being rebranded to Othello in the 70s.

Is Reversi a real game?

Yes, Reversi is indeed a real and widely played board game. It is also known as the name Othello, a trademarked version of the game. You can also play the Reversi game online against a computer or even other players from across the globe.

What is the aim of the Reversi game?

The aim of the Reversi game is to have the majority of your colored discs facing up on the game board when it is full.

Is Othello harder than chess?

Othello and chess offer different challenges. While chess has more complex rules and a larger decision tree, Othello demands a robust strategy. The difficulty level depends on individual preferences.

Is Othello good for the brain?

Yes, Othello is beneficial for the brain. Playing enhances critical thinking, strategic planning, and pattern recognition. It stimulates cognitive skills and promotes mental agility. To put it simply, it is a mentally engaging and enjoyable activity.

Why is Othello so popular?

Othello is a popular game because it offers a blend of simplicity and strategic depth. It is easy to learn yet challenging to master. So, it attracts players of all ages. The gameplay also requires both offense and defense, which makes it more engaging.

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