Merchandise

This page will be dedicated to both introducing and reviewing Othello related products available in the market. One of the main companies which is selling Othello game sets and also the company in charge of making the standard Othello sets for use in the World Othello Championship is Megahouse from Japan. The company can be distinctly recognised by its eye catching logo as shown below. All product images are taken from the Megahouse Japan website.
Source: http://www.megahouse.co.jp/
1. The Official Othello Board (オフィシャルオセロ)
The Official Othello Board from Megahouse Japan
First and foremost, I would like to review the official Othello board that is used every year in the World Othello Championship sponsored by the company Megahouse Japan. This board is also used by the Othello Organisation (Singapore) at all tournaments it hosts. The board dimension is about 40 centimetres(cm) by 40cm which is large enough for you to enjoy a good game of Othello, yet small enough to fit on most tables, especially most cafe tables which makes great places to play at. The board has a green felt surface and the set comes with two boxes of Othello discs with 33 discs in each box. If you notice, there are 2 extra discs, probably for owners who tend to misplace or lose discs along the way while playing.

This board is definitely a Classic since 1973 and a must-have Othello board for all game enthusiasts. I would strongly recommend this board for all players who really want to practice the game competitively as more practice on this board defintely makes perfect when it comes to flipping the discs or getting used to the board. The downside to the board however is definitely the price. Akin to most Japanese products, price always tends to be an issue.

The listed price at Megahouse Japan for one board is 3,465 Japanese Yen (JPY) which at this time of writing is equivalent to 43.22 US Dollars or 53.40 Singapore Dollars (SGD). What makes matters worse, is that there is a need to order these boards in boxes of 6. On top of that, the source from Japan usually insists on engaging a particularly expensive manner of courier which based on my personal experience adds another 40% or so to the price of the board. (Of course, your Othello board will reach you mighty quickly in that case!) This gives you a grand total of approximately 74.75 SGD per official Othello board (with the need to purchase a minimum quantity of 6 boards each time though).

Singaporeans who wish to purchase this Othello board can choose to do so by purchasing directly from Othello Organisation (Singapore) which sells it at just 70 SGD with no minimum purchase quantity.

2. Magnet Othello (マグネットオセロ)
Magnet Othello from Megahouse Japan
Magnets are widely used in not only Othello but many other board games such as chess. It is definitely one of the most common forms of board games for travel sets used in the past. Just like all magentic board games, it comprises of a magnetic smooth surfaced board with 2 boxes of 32 magnetic discs. Furthermore, the two boxes of discs can be nicely fitted into the magnetic board when it is folded and kept after play.

This magnet set is ideal for frequent travellers who want to play with a board comfortably big enough but not too big such that it takes up too much space, while enjoying the convenience for the pieces to retain intact on the board. This would be a good set to bring along for a camp, a long distance train ride or even on aeroplanes.

The listed price at Megahouse Japan for one board is 3,150 Japanese Yen (JPY) which at this time of writing is equivalent to 48.70 Singapore Dollars (SGD). For a magnetic board, I would definitely say that it is overpriced because magnetic boards are commonly found in your neighbourhood local bookstores. Buying one of this magnetic board could well buy you maybe as many as four similar sized (but maybe with weaker magnets but still fully functional) Reversi board sets which works similarly well.

Unfortunately, Singaporeans who could afford the extravagance and wish to purchase this board will have to order in a bulk order as the local organisation does not carry any boards of this model just yet.

3. Othello Kiwame Jr. (オセロ極Jr.)


This Othello Kiwame Jr. product won the Good Design Award (GDA) in Japan which was spearheaded by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP) for its outstanding design. It is a palm size board which has 64 rotating discs. Essentially each row of 8 discs are independent with each disc on each row able to rotate in a 3 sided manner. The first side is a flat green surface which represents the board. The second and third sides are protruding "stones" of black and white which are mounted on the board. Thus, players will never lose the Othello discs of this board which is mounted on the board itself. Players only need to press each disc lightly to make the rotation or the "flip" in order to play Othello normally on the board.

Needless to say, this design is definitely practical yet elegant as well. It is a compact Othello board which is excellent for travel usage and on top of that, it is an evolution from magnetic sets since there will not be the possibility of dropping Othello discs during the trip. I would definitely recommend this Othello set as a simple gift for friends, or even corporate gifts to business partners.

The listed price at Megahouse Japan for one board is 1,260 Japanese Yen (JPY) which at this time of writing is equivalent to  19.50 Singapore Dollars (SGD). What makes matters worse, is that there is a need to order these boards in boxes of 12. On top of that, the source from Japan usually insists on engaging a particularly expensive manner of courier which based on my personal experience adds another 40% or so to the price of the board. (Of course, your Othello board will reach you mighty quickly in that case!) This gives you a grand total of approximately 27.25 SGD per official Othello board (with the need to purchase a minimum quantity of 12 boards each time though).

Fortunately, Singaporeans who wish to purchase this Othello board can choose to do so by purchasing directly from Othello Organisation (Singapore) which is going at just 20 SGD with no minimum purchase quantity.

4. Othello Kiwame (オセロ極) a.k.a. Othello Board for the Blind


After introducing and reviewing the smaller version of the Kiwame series, we want to review the larger version of the Kiwame Othello board series. This board is 30cm by 30cm with a thickness of 3cm. Similar to the Othello Kiwame Jr. board, it features the same 64 pieces of independent 3 sided rotating discs which can be pressed and flipped to play the game. Thus, players will also never lose their Othello discs for this set. Apart from these features, the black "stones" or discs feature a special surface which is made up of multiple engraved concentric circles on each one of them. This distinct surface texture allows the blind people to play the game using just their sense of touch by feeling the "stones" on the surface of the board and discerning the board shape and situation.

I think this board is definitely an excellent Othello board to play with but perhaps not a necessary board to have as much as the official Othello board. I would recommend this Othello Kiwame board to those who are visually challenged and of course those who are interested to have this board as a keepsake.

The listed price at Megahouse Japan for one board is 3,465 Japanese Yen (JPY) which at this time of writing is equivalent to 53.40 Singapore Dollars (SGD). If you realise, this board is exactly the same price as the Official Othello Board introduced earlier on. If I had the cash for only one board, my money will definitely go to the Official Othello Board for the most practical reasons.

Unfortunately, Singaporeans who could afford the extravagance and wish to purchase this board will have to order in a bulk order as the local organisation does not carry any boards of this model just yet.

5. Best Othello (ベストオセロ)


Another common type of Othello board found in the market is this Best Othello Board set. The key feature to such a board is the overall rectangular or cuboidal shape it has. This is because the Othello discs are neatly tucked away in a slot-in container at each end of the board, giving each player the most direct access to their Othello discs during play. The board measure 38.4cm by 32.0cm with a thickness of 3.9cm which is obviously because of the need to contain the Othello discs.

I would recommend this Othello board for players who love non-magnetic sets but at the same time prefer to keep their Othello discs with the board in a smaller and neater version of the game. However, the difference in price of this board with the Official Othello board is not significant. I would definitely prefer to pay just a bit more to get my hands on the Official Othello Board as compared to this model if i were working with a less restricted budget.

The listed price at Megahouse Japan for one board is 2,940 Japanese Yen (JPY) which at this time of writing is equivalent to 45.40 Singapore Dollars (SGD).

Unfortunately, Singaporeans who could afford the extravagance and wish to purchase this board will have to order in a bulk order as the local organisation does not carry any boards of this model just yet.

6. Othello Revolution (オセロ・革命)

To be honest, I think I almost fainted when i saw the promotional video of this new Othello board. The Othello Revolution (or so they call it) is a standard Othello board akin to the Best Othello series mentioned above. However, the striking difference is that the board surface is made up for 16 pieces of 2squares by 2squares mini platforms. Take two platforms out and what you have is a "new" type of Othello in which you can place a disc on what platform and slide the platform to another adjacent position such that the disc you placed actually sandwiches an opponent's disc. That disc would then be flipped just like the normal Othello moves. On top of that, 9 of these platforms can be used to form a central 6 by 6 Othello board for players to engage in a 6 by 6 Mini Othello Game. This displays the versatility of this board.

Call me narrow minded if you will, but I am defintely not a fan of this "new" Othello product that they are trying to promote. The Classic Othello rules are perfect the way they are and there is no need to overcomplicate things by introducing such a "play and slide" manner of play. Although it does induces some "family fun" but it's definitely not something I would like to see happening in Othello tournaments. The board definitely provides some flexibility in the way you would want to play Othello, but I would definitely not opt to purchase this board even if I had the spare cash.

The listed price at Megahouse Japan for one board is 3,465 Japanese Yen (JPY) which at this time of writing is equivalent to 53.40 Singapore Dollars (SGD). If you realise, this board is exactly the same price as the Official Othello Board introduced earlier on. If I had the cash for only one board, my money will definitely go to the Official Othello Board for the most practical reasons.

Unfortunately, Singaporeans who could afford the extravagance and wish to purchase this board will have to order in a bulk order as the local organisation does not carry any boards of this model just yet.

7.  Tsukuda 30 Years Commemorative Othello Board


This magnificent commemorative Othello Board is yet another must-have Othello board. It features what appears to be a very dark colour wooden frame made from one of the best type of wood in Japan for games. The surface of the playing board is a carpet-like green felt texture. It also features wooden boxes containing exceptionally shiny and glossy Othello discs.

I would most definitely recommend this Othello board to anyone and everyone who plays this game due to obvious reasons of its quality mentioned above. However, the listed price on Othello Japan! is a shocking 31,500 Japanese Yen (JPY) which is approximately 486.80 Singapore Dollars (SGD). This price definitely warrants a "what-the-hell" kind of frown on anyone's face. Do you know that if i just added 40 SGD to that, I could buy an Apple iPad 2 (the most basic version of course) in Singapore? Hello? I could even buy a Brand New Sony Playstation 3 in Singapore with that kind of money. The board is definitely the most premium board of them all, but the price really just does not justify what you are buying. So, unless you print money for a living, or you are exceptionally obsessed with wood, I am guessing that this board is not anyone would want to buy.

You know what? Singaporeans who can afford this board should just hop on a plane to visit Tokyo and buy it there on your holiday there rather than waste money on the expensive delivery surcharges.

8. The Tsukuda Wooden Luxury Othello Board

Source: The Othello Museum
Okay ladies and gentleman, here is where I get really unreasonable and biased where my human imperfection really sets in. The Tsukuda Wooden Luxury Othello Board is pretty much the exact same Othello board as the Tsukuda 30 years Commemorative Board I reviewed just above but without the dark colour frame. Instead, this luxurious Othello board features a light coloured wooden frame which totally matches the colour of the boxes for the discs.

This board used to be listed at Othello Japan with the same price as the commemorative board at also a shocking 31,500 Japanese Yen (JPY) which is approximately 486.80 Singapore Dollars (SGD).

Based on my understanding, besides using cold hard cash to purchase this board, you could also "perform a miracle" and win the Japan Meijin Othello Tournament and take home one of these babies with your name engraved on the underside of this board. You should have seen my envious face at the 33rd Japan Meijin Tournament 2012 when Kazuki Okamoto collected his first Meijin title with his name etched into the flip side of the board.

Just for the colour of the frame, I am willing to (struggles...) buy... Nah! I still would not buy this board because of its ridiculously high price but i would be happy (hint*) if anybody would be kind enough to get me one. Anyway, it would give me way more satisfaction to get this board by becoming the first Gaijin to win at the Japan Meijin Tournament anyway (along with that board). I'll take the honour, the trophy and the Othello board. Thank you very much!

Ok, enough of my nonsense, but this is, in my opinion, the finest Othello board ever made and I was really fortunate to have had the chance to play on this Othello board when the 1997 World Champion Suekuni Makoto was based in Singapore.

2 comments:

  1. Hello!

    Where could one buy the commemorative board? Are there also online shops, or I should find somebody in Japan to have it bought for me? I would need it for a present.

    Thank you,
    Adi

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    Replies
    1. Hi Adriana,

      you can buy this board from Othello Japan! I believe they might still have stock. But as reviewed, the price is quite high for one.

      Cheers,

      Alex

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