Recently we were sent the Othello game from John Adams to review. Although I’d heard of Othello, I’d never played it before and neither had the kids – but we couldn’t wait to give it a try.
Othello is a really simple but addictive game. It’s made up of a plain board with squares, and black and white pieces (black on one side, white on the other) which are reversed throughout the game, and the aim of each player is to take over the board with their colour.
The slogan on the box is “a minute to learn..a lifetime to master!” which I would say is totally true! The rules are pretty simple and my kids picked it up easily and quickly (8 year old, and almost 7 year old – we’ve not tried the 5 year old on it yet since it’s recommended for age 7 and upwards).
Once you understand the basic rules, you can keep refining your technique and strategies each time you play, to try to improve and outsmart your opponents. To start the game, you set up the board like the picture below, and then take turns adding one piece in your colour, in a position that allows you to “outflank” at least one piece of the opponent’s, allowing you to take over a bit more of the board.
The instruction book included is really clear and even gives examples of game play so that you can be sure you have the right idea. The game continues until the whole board is covered, and then you count up how many pieces each person has to find out the winner.
It was quite interesting watching my two older boys playing each other, and seeing how they adapted their strategies to try and beat each other. My younger one was surprisingly good, considering he’s not quite 7 yet – so he kept his older brother on his toes!
Othello is really strategy based, which means it’s fun for adults to play too and the boys’ dad and I also enjoyed a few matches against each other! If you enjoy competitive 2 player games like chess, you’re likely to enjoy Othello but learning the rules of Othello is definitely quicker than chess.
Othello is a great game to challenge your family members, each round doesn’t take too long and it’s quick to pick up so it’s easy to introduce it to new players and set up your own tournament!
Othello is available from all good toy shops, including Amazon (currently priced 16.00). I would definitely recommend it if you like strategic games, our whole family have been really enjoying it and no doubt it will get played lots more in the future too.