I like Othello. It was the first abstract strategy game that I became half way decent at. It has its flaws; some say it is cracked (There is supposedly a definite winning strategy) some say it is just plain tedious, but as an introduction to abstract strategy games you could do a lot worse than Othello. But it only plays with 2 players.
Rolit is Othello, but you can play it with 2, 3 or 4 players.
How does Rolit play?
Is Rolit worth playing?
Is Rolit worth buying?
First things first...
How does it play?
If you've played Othello then you can skip this section. If you haven't then...come closer...
Each player plays a colour (Red, Blue, Yellow or Green) The pieces are all the same and consist of a ball with 4 raised circles, one of each colour. If you ever play against me, don't even thinkabout playing Yellow...a punch in the face often offends. The aim of the game is to have more pieces on the board showing your colour uppermost at the game end (When the board is full) than your opponents.
Each turn a player places a piece onto the board with their colour showing on top. If possible, the piece must be played such that at least one opponents piece is "Captured" and converted to your colour. If capture is not possible, then you can place your piece anywhere, so long is it is in contact with at least 1 other piece.
Capturing pieces. If I place my (inevitably) Yellow piece at the end of a line of pieces, and somewhere along that line there is another Yellow piece, then all pieces in between my 2 Yellow pieces are rotated so that they display Yellow on top. they have been captured. I then smile. I may even do a little dance. If by placing my piece I complete 2 lines, then I will capture all of the intervening pieces on all of the lines. I will then definitely do a dance.
e.g. Look at the following example. b is blue, y is yellow.
If I go here
then all of the blues become mine.
I am thus 1 small step closer to world domination.
The game continues like this until the board (and 8 x 8) grid is full of pieces...preferably Yellow.
Is Rolit worth playing?
Let's get one thing straight: Rolit is not Go. Rolit gives you few possible options, and even fewer plausible options (There are often a lot more silly places to play than there are sensible places to play)
This is the issue that many will see as its greatest failing, but if like me you have kids (Or Villa fans as friends) then simplicity becomes a strength. Rolit can be explained very quickly and very successfully (and a whole lot easier than it was for me to explain it as demonstrated above!)
If you've played Othello, you are probably wondering what the differences are.
In terms of rules; none.
In terms of strategy; lots!
The main difference is control. Playing one opponent gives you a lot more control than playing 3 at once; it also limits your responsiveness.
Take this piece of 1st Dan Othelloism.
(This is Othello, not Rolit by the way...)
The example is being played out along the edge of the board...
--bbbb--- white is yet to play, but then plays...
now, this side is neutralised until either player plays into the gap between them, marked with a O below.
At this point, the other player can then play to a corner, and a major advantage follows.
NOT NECCESARILY TRUE IN ROLIT!
in this example, b=blue, r=red, y=yellow
I (Yellow) make an attack against this side
-bbbb-y- and await for blue to play next to me so that I can play to the left corner and begin doing my customary dance. Instead, red, (The buffoon...) plays there instead;
now, before I can execute my master plan, blue play to the right hand corner and takes us both out!
So the issue really is one of control. Or chaos, depending upon how you choose to define it.
If you are a good solid Type A personality, Rolit will iritate you for this reason, because you have to temper your control and accept that other (Obviously less intelligent people) will cock your plans up for you. Ho hum.
I doubt that Rolit will ever make it to the International Board Game Championships, but then, would you want it to?
For me, it is an ideal game to play with my 2 girls and some random person I have kidnapped screaming off the street. Rolit makes you think and is 15 minutes of fun, but like I said earlier, Go it ain't.
Is Rolit worth buying?
If you like what you've heard, then I'd say probably yes. There aren't that many 2+ player abstract strategy games about that only take 15 minutes or so and can be played by kiddie-winkies. The problem will be getting hold of a copy. to the best of my knowledge it is out of print (OOP) but you can probably pick one up off ebay. It is also Charity shop fodder. Good hunting!
When playing with 2p, do you still put all four colors into the starting square in the center, or do you just put those 2 colors, like in Othello?
Just two. The weird beginning is with 3 players when 1 player starts with 2 pieces.