How to Play Reversi

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the rules, tactics, and strategies that make Reversi so enthralling. Originating in the late 19th century, Reversi has stood the test of time and continues to be cherished by players of all ages. The objective is simple: strategically place your discs on the board to flip your opponent's pieces and claim the majority of the board. With its easy-to-understand rules and endless possibilities for strategic gameplay, Reversi offers a thrilling challenge that will keep you engaged for hours on end.

Overview of Reversi

Reversi is played on a square board with an 8x8 grid. The board consists of 64 individual squares where players strategically place their discs. The discs are round tokens, typically black and white, representing each player's pieces.


The primary objective in Reversi is to gain control of the board by having the most discs of your color when the game ends. Players achieve this by strategically placing their discs to surround and capture their opponent's discs. The game concludes when no more moves are possible or when the board is fully occupied.

Reversi involves a range of strategies and tactics to gain an advantage. These may include corner and edge control, mobility, creating capturing opportunities, and sacrificing pieces strategically. Understanding and employing these basic strategies can significantly enhance your chances of success in the game of Reversi.

Setting Up the Game

The Reversi board is a square grid that consists of 64 individual squares. It is typically an 8x8 grid, although variations with different sizes may exist. The board provides the playing field where players strategically place their discs to gain control and flip their opponent's discs.

At the beginning of the game, four discs are placed on the board in a specific arrangement. Two discs of each color (commonly black and white) are positioned diagonally in the center of the board, forming a square shape. This initial setup creates the starting point for players to expand their influence and execute their strategies.

Reversi is a two-player game, typically played between black and white pieces. Each player takes turns making moves to place their discs on the board. The black player usually goes first, and then the players alternate turns throughout the game. This two-player dynamic adds to the competitive nature of Reversi, as players strive to outmaneuver and outwit their opponent to gain control of the board.

Gameplay Mechanics

Reversi follows a turn-based system, where players take alternating turns. The black player usually begins the game, and then the players continue to make moves one after another. This alternating turn structure ensures fairness and strategic decision-making for both players.

The core move in Reversi involves placing a disc on an empty square that is adjacent to at least one opponent's disc. This means the new disc must be placed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally next to an existing disc of the opponent's color. By placing the disc in such a manner, players aim to create opportunities for capturing their opponent's discs.

The capturing mechanism in Reversi revolves around sandwiching your opponent's discs between two of your own discs. When a player places a disc in a position that surrounds the opponent's discs in a straight line, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, the captured discs are flipped to the player's color. This flipping process transforms the captured discs, making them part of the capturing player's color and increasing their control of the board.

For example, if the board has a black disc in the top left corner, and the white player places their disc adjacent to it in any direction, such that there is a line of white discs between the new white disc and another existing white disc, all the black discs in that line will be captured and flipped to white. This capturing process can result in strategic swings of control and is crucial to gaining an advantage in Reversi.

Game Completion and Scoring

Reversi reaches completion under two conditions:

  1. When the entire board is filled with discs: This occurs when there are no more empty squares available for placing discs. When this happens, the game ends, and it moves to the scoring phase.
  2. When neither player has any legal moves left: If both players are unable to make a valid move, the game also concludes, and it proceeds to scoring.

The scoring system in Reversi is based on counting the number of discs for each player. When the game completes, each player's discs on the board are counted. The player with the most discs of their color is considered the winner.

The player with the highest number of discs of their color at the end of the game is declared the winner. In case both players have an equal number of discs, the game results in a tie. Ties can occur when the board is completely filled, and the number of black and white discs is equal.

It's worth noting that some variations of Reversi may employ different scoring systems or additional rules for determining the winner. However, in the standard version, the player with the most discs at the end of the game claims victory, while ties occur when both players have an equal number of discs.

Strategies and Tactics

Corner and edge squares in Reversi refer to the squares located at the corners and edges of the board. These squares have a unique strategic value due to their limited access and potential for fewer flipping opportunities.

Controlling the corner and edge squares is crucial in Reversi. These positions provide stability, as discs placed in these areas are less vulnerable to being flipped. Additionally, controlling the corners and edges allows players to gain control over adjacent squares, potentially limiting their opponent's mobility and creating opportunities for capturing discs.

Tactics for Gaining Control

  1. Mobility: Maintaining a high number of available moves helps players retain flexibility and adaptability in their strategies, enabling them to respond to changing game dynamics.
  2. Building walls: Establishing strong defensive positions by creating a barrier of discs can limit your opponent's options and force them into making suboptimal moves.
  3. Flipping opportunities: Creating situations where you can capture multiple discs in a single move enhances your control over the board and can lead to significant strategic advantages.
  4. Sacrifice moves: Sacrificing certain discs strategically can redirect your opponent's attention or set up future capturing opportunities.

Tips for Recognizing and Countering Opponent Strategies

  1. Aggressive vs. defensive playstyles: Understanding whether your opponent is adopting an aggressive or defensive approach can inform your own strategy and help you adjust your gameplay accordingly.
  2. Anticipating potential moves and countermoves: Developing the ability to anticipate your opponent's moves and countermoves allows you to plan ahead and make more informed decisions. Observing patterns and identifying key positions on the board can aid in recognizing and countering opponent strategies.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Beginners in Reversi often make some common mistakes, such as:

  1. Focusing solely on capturing discs without considering future moves.
  2. Neglecting the importance of corner and edge squares.
  3. Failing to anticipate their opponent's moves and countermoves.
  4. Making moves that result in a low number of available moves in subsequent turns.

By being aware of these common mistakes and implementing these tips, you can enhance your gameplay and increase your chances of success in Reversi.

Reversi is a captivating and strategic board game that offers hours of intellectual challenge and enjoyment. Throughout this blog post, we've covered the essentials of playing Reversi, from understanding the game's components and objectives to exploring various strategies and tactics.

We discussed the importance of the Reversi board and discs, the objective of having the most discs of your color, and the exciting gameplay mechanics of capturing your opponent's discs. We also delved into strategies like corner and edge control, mobility, flipping opportunities, and sacrificing moves. Additionally, we highlighted common mistakes to avoid and provided tips for improving your gameplay.

So, gather your discs, set up the board, and let the battles of wits begin. Embrace the complexities of Reversi, enjoy the thrill of outmaneuvering your opponent, and relish the satisfaction of claiming victory. May your Reversi journey be filled with strategic triumphs and unforgettable moments on the path to becoming a skilled Reversi player.