Othello vs. Go: Which Game to Choose?

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When it comes to very fun yet challenging board games, there are plenty of choices out there. Two extremely popular ones at this time include Othello and Go. Now, both games may look similar due to their general appearances, but that said, besides their appearance, they really could not be any more different from each other.

Yes, they do share some other similarities, but not many. Let’s figure out how the two games compare and which one you should go with.

Othello vs. Go

Similarities of Othello and Go

First off, although many of these similarities are very basic in nature, there are some important ones between Othello and Go that are worth talking about.

#1: Both Are Strategy Games

First and foremost, both Othello and Go are strictly strategy games, very strategy-heavy in fact. There are no cards to draw and no dice to roll. The only thing that players of both games can rely on is their wit. Both of these games are actually fairly complex and take a very long time to master. For those of you who didn’t know, Go is also known as Chinese chess, which does speak to its difficulty.

#2: Both Are More Complex Than They Look

Although we really don’t have time to get into the exact rules of both games, the simple reality is that while both games might just look like boards with square grids on them, complete with black and white game pieces, they are both very complex. It might appear like both games just involve placing game pieces on the grid, but there is so much more to it than that.

#3: Both Are Two-Player Games

Both Othello and Go were designed as two-player games. We suppose that just like people do in chess, one player could face him or herself, but that is rather pointless. Moreover, there are some cases where people have played in teams of two, but that tends to not work very well either.

Twi Players Playing Othello

#4: Both Boards Are Grids

One of the most basic similarities that both of these games share is that they both feature square boards with grids on them, although that is where the similarities generally end.

#5: Who Goes First

In both Othello and Go, there are black pieces and white pieces, and in both games, the player who is using the black pieces goes first.

#6: Who Wins

Although exactly how to win and the scoring of both games is a bit different, who wins is the same. In both Othello and Go, the player with the most pieces on the board at the end of the game is considered the winner.

Differences Between Othello and Go

Now that we know what makes Othello and Go similar to each other, let’s find out what makes them different.

#1: Go Is Much More Complex

Although both Go and Othello are strategy-heavy games, the fact of the matter is that Go features a much larger board with more game pieces, many more moves that can be made, and plenty more rules too. Go is the far more complex and difficult game to play, which makes Othello much more beginner-friendly. Some might even say that Othello is like a children’s version of Go, at least comparatively speaking.

#2: Board Size

As mentioned above, Othello and Go game boards differ in size and appearance. The Othello board is always green in color and features 64 squares arranged in an 8 x 8 grid (the lines in between squares are raised, thus creating 64 small square pockets). On the other hand, the Go board is beige with black lines that form a grid, with the full-size board being 19 x 19 squares (although 13 x 13 and 9 x 9 boards do also exist).

#3: Game Pieces

The game pieces themselves differ, as Go features separate white and black pieces, with the pieces being divided up prior to the start of the game. Othello, on the other hand, has 64 game pieces, all of which are black on one side and white on the other, with pieces being taken from a collective pool as they are needed.


#4: Where Pieces Are Played

In Othello, the pieces are placed in the middle of the squares, whereas in Go, the pieces are placed on the intersections.

#5: Capturing and Removing Pieces vs. Capturing and Flipping

In Othello, the aim is to make a straight line of at least three pieces. If there is a black piece beside a white piece, a player can put a black piece on the other side (black, white, black), which would then cause the white piece to be flipped and turned into a black piece. In other words, when pieces of the opponent are captured, they are turned into your pieces. On the other hand, in Go, pieces are captured when they are surrounded (or lose their liberties), and when pieces are captured, they are removed from the board.

#6: The Diagonals

In Othello, players can make chains on diagonal lines, whereas in Go, only vertical and horizontal chains count.

#7: Scoring and Endgame

Generally speaking, Othello ends when all 64 pieces have been played and the grid is totally full, and the player with the most pieces on the board is considered the winner. In Go, the game ends when both players consecutively pass their turns (because nothing else is to be done), with the player who has the most pieces on the board, combined with the most captured territory (free spaces that the other player does not have access to), being the winner.

Othello vs. Go: Which Game to Choose?

When it comes down to it, the only real consideration to make here is how difficult the two games are. If you like strategy games and want a huge challenge, then Go is the way to go, pun totally intended! On the other hand, if you like strategy games and you want to play something somewhat challenging, but not quite as complex as Go, then Othello is the better choice.

Strategy Game of Go


Of course, we have only been able to cover the basic similarities and differences here, because, at the end of the day, both of these games are quite complex. If you like playing challenging games, we think that you will probably love both Go and Othello.

For tips on how to win in Othello, check this article.