FAQs

Where can I buy an Othello board?

In our experience, most toy and game shops carry Othello boards. You can call your local store and verify that before going in, but they should have it.

Toys R Us stores sell boards, and you can also buy them online.

Amazon is another source.

EBay can also be a good source of old boards, used boards, and specialty boards.

Where is a good place to play Othello online?

We recommend PlayOK (Othello is listed as “reversi” there, although that is not technically the correct name).

PlayOK has the following attractive features (the USOA has no formal association with any game site, this is just our unofficial opinion):

  • PlayOK always has opponents for you to play.
  • It often has some of the strongest players in the world.
  • It works well on mobile devices.
  • If you would like to talk with fellow American players, and get useful information and tips, there are often Americans playing on PlayOK (for example, Ben Seeley, nickname “foompykatt”, will be happy to help you).

Other websites where you can play Othello online include the following (sometimes it is listed as “reversi” at those websites, too):

Turnbased websites:

http://eothello.com/

flyordie.com

turnplay.com

What is some good software for practicing Othello and analyzing games?

WZebra

Edax

Software for mobile devices:

DroidZebra (WZebra for mobile)

Why do I sometimes see “Othello” called “reversi”?

Here’s the long answer: Othello and reversi are not technically the same games, but they’ve been confused so much that people often think they are the same game (and some game sites, etc., take advantage of that confusion, which makes it even worse).

Reversi actually pre-dates Othello, historically.

However, in reversi as it was originally played, the starting configuration was not predetermined, like it is in Othello. Players would take turns setting down the first four pieces in the center of the board. Because of this, if Black so chose, the game would have to start with the “parallel” starting configuration (White White Black Black), rather than the Othello starting configuration (White Black Black White).

Parallel starting configuration does not offer as wide of a range of interesting lines of play… so, if Black wished, s/he could force the game in that direction.

Also, in reversi as it was originally played, the game was over as soon as one player could not make a move. In Othello, s/he simply passes, and the other player makes a move, and the game is only over once neither player can make a move.

This “no passing” rule in Reversi makes the game radically different, especially in the endgame.

Unfortunately, because the games look similar, and “Othello” is a trademark and “reversi” is not, many websites, software makers, etc., wanted to piggy back on the popularity of Othello by calling their game “reversi” (even though they used the rules of Othello, usually only making irrelevant tweaks like turning the starting configuration 90 degrees, or having White start play instead of Black).

Those using the “reversi” name wished to profit from the confusion. Paying for an “Othello” license would have cut into their profits, and because so many people think they are the same games, they could get Othello customers (people saying “hey, that looks like Othello”) even though they called it reversi.

But, the owners of the Othello trademark have done most of the heavy lifting of promoting the game- pouring large amounts of money into marketing and sponsorship of tournaments, investing thousands of man-hours, etc… and Othello is the superior game, in our opinion.

Is there an international rating list, in addition to the USA rating list?

Yes, the World Othello Federation (WOF) rating list. Mathematical analyses have indicated that the WOF rating list (which uses an ingenious system, probably the most advanced ratings system in use in any game) is probably the most predictive and accurate ratings system around.