Online Reversi Game by Frank LaRosa

Webversi is a Web based implementation of the popular board game, Reversi (also called Othello). You'll be playing online against our computer program.

The Game

To play Reversi, you place one of your pieces onto the board in such a way that two of your pieces completely surround one or more rows of your opponent's pieces. When you do so, you capture your opponent's pieces and they're "flipped" to become your pieces. Naturally, your opponent is going to try to do the same thing to you. The game ends when the board fills up or when neither side can make a legal move -- whoever has the most pieces wins!

When you start, all the squares where it's possible for you to move are highlighted with a light green dot. To make a move, simply click the desired square. Webversi will process your move, make its countermove, and present you with a new game board showing the combined results of your move and its countermove. Select your next move, and the game continues.

The Rules

Like most things, Reversi has a few rules. When it's your turn, you can only move to a square which causes two of your pieces to surround one or more of your opponent's pieces. Webversi helps you out by only allowing you to click squares that contain a legal move. (If you're clever, you might figure out how to manually change the URL to attempt an illegal move, but Webversi can't be fooled that easily. It will complain and ask you to try again).

If in the course of playing you get to a situation where no legal moves are available, you must pass and allow Webversi to move again. When this happens, you'll see a message that says "Click here to Pass" below the playing board. Webversi will automatically pass when no legal moves are available. You can also pass your first move, if you'd like to have Webversi move first.

More importantly, though, you must make a legal move if you have one. In other words, you can't pass if it's possible for you to move. In fact, one of Webversi's strategies is to force you into making moves you'd rather not make -- so, be on the lookout!


Most games end when all 64 squares on the board are filled. Occasionally, games end early if a position develops in which neither side can make a legal move. You'll see a "Game Over" message below the board when the game is over.

Maybe we should have called this section "losing", though. Webversi is pretty hard to beat, even on the lower skill levels. So you're in for a real challenge, even if you're a serious Reversi buff. We figure it wouldn't be much fun otherwise.

Starting a New Game

To start a game, return to the Webversi Home Page and select a skill level.

For even more fun, you can choose a game piece graphic for you and the server from the list of available images. (Don't choose the same image for both -- unless you really like mass confusion, that is).


Frank LaRosa wrote his first Reversi program in 1980, using a crude dialect of BASIC on an HP minicomputer. Over the years, he ported and rewrote Reversi many times as a way of exploring new computing platforms. Versions have been written in three kinds of BASIC, Turbo Pascal, Borland C, Microsoft C++, and Java. The machines and operating systems on which these applications ran include a TRS-80, a Bally Arcade video game console, MS-DOS, Windows, Palm OS, and the Java virtual machine (which runs almost anywhere nowadays).

Frank's first online version of Reversi ran as a Searchlight BBS "door" program. It had a character-based user interface and offered many options such as hints, game saving, and custom board configurations. A later release, called RIPVersi, took advantage of the RIP graphics interface to offer a graphical UI.

Webversi first appeared on the internet in 1996 as a component of the Spinnaker web server platform. The current online version is a J2EE web application, written with server-side Java components (Enterprise Java Beans) and Java Server Pages. You can download several offline versions at the download page.

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