MacBeth is a hexagonal variant of Othello. What's different? For one thing, it looks better!

Othello or Reversi mode
The diagram gives the initial position in Othello mode. In Reversi mode play starts on an empty board and the players first take turns to fill up the central hexagon. Disregarding rotations and reflections, there are three possible outcomes to start the actual game from. The rules from that point on are the same as in Othello mode.

initial positionRules
  • Black starts. Players must move on their turn, unless they cannot legally move. In that case the turn goes back to the opponent. If neither can move legally, the game ends.
  • The players share 72 bi-colored stones - black one side, white the other.
  • A move must be a 'custodian capture': the stone played must trap at least one opponent's stone or unbroken row of stones, between itself and an already present stone of like color. It can do so in up to four directions simultaneously.
    Captured stones are reversed immediately.

Note a peculiar difference with Othello, where a move may capture in no less than eight directions. Because MacBeth is hexagonal, its directions of capture are along straight lines only - not along diagonals. On top of that one main direction is excluded for every cell by the nature of the board. This makes MacBeth somewhat easier to handle: colors do not switch quite that dramatically.

  • The game ends by one player's resignation or if both must pass on successive turns.
    The winner is now the player with the most territory, that is: the highest number of stones on the board.

The starting point of all reasoning is obviously the fact that there are six corners with the same feature that is makes them so popular in Othello: a man on it cannot be captured and becomes an anchor to capture along the edges. The fact that corners are strong makes the adjacent cells weak, so these should be avoided.
And so on: the basic reasoning is the same as in Othello, and 'minimal capture' - capturing as little as possible during the earlier stages, to reduce the opponent's options - also seems to apply.
The finer points of strategy are admittedly no less of a mystery to me than those of Othello.

Christian Freeling - Falco Freeling (The Pit 2008, 1-0)
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How I invented ... MacBeth
Using the MacBeth applet
External links

MacBeth © MindSports
Java applet © Ed van Zon