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Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports

Orleans Board Game Review

Orleans Board GameStats:
No. of players: 2-4
Amount of time to play: 90 min
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: 5 min

Orleans is a bag-building and worker placement board game. You must increase your followers to take more actions, get board position and gain more VPs.

Orleans Rules Description:

Orleans takes place over 18 rounds. You start the game with four followers. Each round you draw four to eight followers from your bag and place them on your player board. Depending on where you place them the followers grant you certain actions on the main boards.

Most actions get you more followers. But you can also move around or build trading posts on the map, move up the development track or use the Beneficial Deeds board. In most cases your followers are returned to you but followers placed on the Beneficial Deeds board stay there the rest of the game.

The followers you may gain include:

The Farmer gives you goods.
The Boatman gives you extra money.
The Craftsman gives you a technology tile that is a permanent follower for your player board.
The Trader lets you to take a location that only you can use.
The Knight allows you to pull more followers from your bag each round.
The Scholar moves you up the development track.
The Monk can be used as any follower.

After the 18 rounds are over you gain VPs for the goods you’ve collected, trading posts you’ve built, your citizens and your money. The player with the most VPs wins the game.

Quick Review of Orleans:

Orleans is a mid-weight board game with worker placement and area control mechanics. You must thoughtfully build your crew of followers in order to win.

The components for this game are very nice the art looks medieval and the tiles and chits are all durable. The rules are well written and easy to follow too.

Bag-building games are similar to deck-building games and this is definitely my favorite bag builder. It can be a bit overwhelming the first play. Not because it is too complex but there are so many options it takes a play to grasp how they all connect. On top of that knowing the locations tiles matters and I felt in my first game they were too much to include in my strategy.

But after a few plays things become clearer you can build your bag to streamline your strategy. It is also important to remove some unnecessary followers from your bag via the Beneficial Deeds board.

I like that everyone is setting up each round at the same time. This keeps downtime low. And the myriad number of options each turn equals different paths to victory.

If you are looking for Eurogame with a mix of fun mechanics, pick Orleans up. Likewise if you are looking to add a bag builder to your collection, this is the one. If you enjoy Euros but aren’t sure about this one, you should at least give it a try.

Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 4 out of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6

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