Today I continue with reviewing all games in my top 50 that did not yet got reviewed. I take a look at Orléans from Reiner Stockhausen with art from Klemens Franz. It’s a great game where you trade, farm and develop in and around medieval Orléans.
Orléans is a bag builder. What does that mean? Well it means that you start the game with a couple of tokens in your own cloth bag. These tokens have a different colour or occupation. Every turn you draw some tokens from your bag and place them on certain action spots.
You might say it’s a worker placement game as well.
Some of these action spots give you more or other tokens, which you put, with your used tokens, back into the bag to be drawn again later in the game.
The goal of the game is to gain dominance in France by producing goods, trading, developing and doing beneficial deeds.
At the end of the game you’ll get points for the money you own, the goods you have and the trading post and citizens you have built or collected.
During the game you place the tokens you’ve drawn on your personal player board. Every action spot requires specific types and different amounts of tokens. Some action spots give you a token of one type and allow you to move one step further on a track belonging to that type. The blue track gives you money. The white track gives you goods. The red track allows you to draw more tokens at the start of a round. One track gives you technology, another gives you a new building (or action spots), yet another gives you more knowledge to advance on the development track. The later is important, because it determines how much points you’ll get for your trading houses and citizens.
Other action spots allow you to move you merchant around over water or roads, giving you goods, or you can build a trading house on the board where the merchant is located.
You can also decide to place your tokens in the Town Hall to do beneficial deeds, giving you a bonus and a citizen. However, by doing deeds you remove your tokens from the game instead of putting them back in your bag.
At the end of a round an event takes place, sometimes bad, sometimes good and after 18 rounds you win if you have the most points.
Orléans is a very fun game. It has that same idea as deck building games in that every type of token has its own benefit and are worth getting. However, you can’t just buy every token that’s for sale, because if you buy the wrong tokens, or tokens you don’t need at the moment, or just too many tokens, you get a nice full bag, yes, but you can only draw so many per turn, so the chances of you drawing the ones you need get smaller and smaller.
Also, the goods, the building spaces, the amount of tokens of every type is finite, which means that the steps that all players can theoretically take on the different tracks are also finite, which means that everything you do must be well thought out. If the blue tokens run out, you will never again get one. So, if you need to get blue tokens or desperately want to advance on that track, you better do it now or it’s too late.
There are several different ways to score points. You can collect citizens tokens, build houses and try to move far along the development track, so they are worth more. Or you can collect a lot of valuable goods. Or money, you can get a lot of money.
It’s incredibly fun. You are constantly looking what other players are doing, where are they going to move to, on which track are they focusing and then adjust your strategy accordingly. Maybe you want to focus on this other track, or sometimes you purposely leave tokens on you player board and not do an action, so in the next turn you can surprise everyone with a major move.
At times it might be a thinky game and, sure, there’s luck involved in how the tokens come out of your bag, but on the other hand, you’ve put them in there. If you wanted other tokens, you should have got them earlier.
The images used here are taken from the dlp-games website.