Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Orléans» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Orleans Review rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
scott w
United States
Providence
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Orleans




The Nuts and Bolts

Designer: Reiner Stockhausen

Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games

Orleans is a 2 to 5 player, pool or bag building game.
The box says 90 minutes, but if you have all 5 players, it’s longer than that. There are many bits and resources to arrange around the board, so setup will take a good amount of time, at least 20 minutes.

Note: There is both a deluxe and regular version of Orleans. Aside from an upgrade in the components and metal coins, the most notable difference is the deluxe version accommodates up to 5 players.

The Lead

Welcome to medieval times in France! In Orleans you will need to travel the countryside gathering resources such as grain and wine, recruit farmers, knights, and other professions, gain development points, build buildings, and of course, make money. The victory condition is simple: have the most money at the end of the game.

Intro


If this is your first time opening the massive box, be prepared to apply stickers…a lot of them. It isn’t a ton of fun, but the components are terrific quality and you won’t be disappointed.

The setup and the amount of components can feel overwhelming if you just pop the box open. There is large game board with a number of colored tracks and a map of the surrounding area of Orleans. There is a communal Beneficial Deeds board which players can retire their pieces as the game goes on. In addition, each player receives a board for their own tokens, a very nice bag, and 4 starting tokens.

The map side is seeded with a random assortment of goods which players will each vie to gather by moving their pawn (starting in Orleans) to different cities.

Gameplay


Orleans is played over the course of 18 rounds, each round a new event is revealed. These events impact the current turn. There are both good events and bad.

Each round is broken up into 7 phases, but the core gameplay is very simple: players start their turn by drawing a number of worker tokens from their bag, place their workers on the corresponding spots on their player board, and then do the action. Most actions allow players to acquire new workers and put them in their bag. Other actions allow players to move around the map or build guild halls. It is a very cool pool building mechanic and I really fell in love with it from my first play. There may be many turns where you hope to pull out a specific token and even though you may have 3 or 4 in your bag, you won’t get one. It can be frustrating, but in a good way. You have to adapt your strategy on the fly.

Each of the different workers that you can acquire will offer a unique upgrade for you:

Farmers will give you goods.
Boatmen will give you extra money.
Craftsmen will give you a technology tile which acts like a permanent worker on your player board.
Traders will allow you to choose a “place tile” and gives you an exclusive spot to put your workers.
Knights will raise the amount of workers you pull from your bag.
Scholars will move you along the development track.
Monks are wild and can go on any spot.



After a round or two, even the newest players to Orleans should start to feel comfortable with the rules and pace of play. This is a big plus for me. There are times when playing a new game players can feel like they won’t be competitive if they make some bad decisions early on. Orleans doesn’t have that problem. On your first turn, you have a few choices to make and any of them is right. New players can feel confident in their decisions and they will never feel like the game is passing them by.

In almost all my playthroughs of Orleans I’ve sensed two main pivot points. As I said there is 18 rounds, at about halfway through the game the map and board of Beneficial Deeds become relevant. The Beneficial Deeds board allows you to retire workers and thin your bag. It’s not something you want to do too early, but it can be worth quite a few points and should not be ignored. The next main pivot is when people build trade houses and move their pawn around the map. Each player has ten trade houses and at the end of the game they can be worth a big chunk of victory points. Something that is often overlooked as the game starts to wrap up: resources and money are finite. It’s often a race to grab the workers you need early in the game - getting those last few dollars near the end of the game can be crucial.

Negatives


I do have a few things that bug me: the randomness of the events. Some events can occur at times that don’t make sense. A second turn “coins for trade houses” event when no one has any feels like a waste. I’ve seen some variants where people order the events in a way that makes sense.

The theme feels a little “meh”. I don’t *feel * like I’m hiring a knight, I feel like I’m hiring a “red guy”. I’m not really bothered by this as much because I have so much fun actually playing the game.

The player boards can be a bit visually distracting: I don’t want to take away from the art, because the game looks amazing, but it can be very difficult to look quickly at what other players are doing. In that respect, the game can feel a bit solitaire-ish.

Positives


Even with those small gripes, Orleans is an AMAZING game. It has the feel of a deck builder with the strategy of a solid Euro. Component quality is terrific – especially on the deluxe version. Big chunky wooden bits and metal coins. The overall art of the game is very good as well. The board is high quality, the building tiles are excellent, and those bags are so nice to hold!



Wrap Up


Orleans does so many things well. I haven’t ever felt like there was a direct path to victory. There are so many ways to gain points: collect goods, move up the development track, or just making money with a building from the trader pile. Almost any strategy will keep you feeling competitive. There is a ton of replay value here as well. I’ve played a farmer strategy, a craftsman strategy, boatmen strategy…you name it. Everyone can play Orleans differently and have fun, which is the true measure of a game. This game is a great addition to any collection because of its unique mechanics and overall gameplay.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joel Brighton
United States
Sammamish
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"20 minutes setup"! - good grief chap, what are you doing that takes so long? I spend 5-6 minutes at most! Now I do have the players' starting pieces, etc. bagged separately. Maybe that helps a little...?

"the randomness of the events". Have to disagree with you on this one. The fact that events don't arrive at the most opportune moment is what 'makes' the events. (You don't always get the benefit of a "trading day" because it occurs early).

"player boards can be a bit visually distracting...the game can feel a bit solitaire-ish". Gosh, I'm always looking over to see what other players are doing. Should I build a farm this turn because my opponents are doing so and will take farm lead. How about recruiting a monk - if I don't the others players are going to take the last ones!

I do agree on the theme issue - 'knight' vs 'red meeple' - but it doesn't really bother me, personally. And I completely agree with you on the "Positives" and "Wrap-up".

It's always interesting to hear what other folks have to say about a game - different perspectives and all that. In this case, looks like we end up at the same place - just along a different road!

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
scott w
United States
Providence
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Thanks for the comments!
I've got every starting players components in little containers, but it always takes me a while to take out the extra goods or tokens if the player count is less than 5. I've found the game to run exceptional at 4, but I like the convenience of it being at 5.

I've seen some variants on the events, where you shuffle each set of the six events so that you encounter each of them randomly but in different parts of the game. I'm hoping the expansion will add more event variety.

I'm glad we agree that the game is great, and in the end, having fun playing is what it's all about!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joel Brighton
United States
Sammamish
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
whoolzyourdaddy wrote:
I've seen some variants on the events, where you shuffle each set of the six events so that you encounter each of them randomly but in different parts of the game. I'm hoping the expansion will add more event variety.

Interesting. Okay, you've piqued my curiosity wrt variants; I really should take a closer look and give some of them a bash.

whoolzyourdaddy wrote:

... and in the end, having fun playing is what it's all about!

Most definitely! A real bonus for me is that my wife (who isn't really a gamer) loves the game as well; win or lose it's a great way to spend time together!


1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Casey W

Bonney Lake
Washington
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Orléans: Trade & Intrigue is a must have if you enjoy Orleans. The 36 different events tiles, and contract cards are great. The new Beneficial Deeds board is fantastic and a game changer in the positive.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David B
United States
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review, but I found the game to be nothing special.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hardy
Germany
Münster
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
CashLiam wrote:
Orléans: Trade & Intrigue is a must have if you enjoy Orleans. The 36 different events tiles, and contract cards are great. The new Beneficial Deeds board is fantastic and a game changer in the positive.


I agree, that the new events are not just a variant, but an improvement also in terms of balancing (as some strategies vere a bit too strong in the base game and nearly a must do).

The contracts cards are also a nice add-on, which make the game feel more complete.

The alternative deeds boards are not a must, but a nice variation.

I also recommend getting the promo tiles "depot" (in any case) and "tavern" (if you play often 4p or 5p). If you can't get them, jut print them out yourself from the files here on BGG.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
scott w
United States
Providence
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Thanks for commenting David. I think I really enjoy the bag building/deck building/pool building mechanic. That's probably why I felt so strongly about Orleans. At the same time, I enjoy moving around on the map portion of the board, and liken it to moving around on the map in Concordia, another one of my favorites. Orleans just fills me with all sorts of good feelings, so I enjoy it a lot.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Payne
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I've been interested in this one, but am on the fence right now. Primarily because I can't get every game I want. Just deciding about my next purchase and I appreciate your review. Also looking at Navegador, Istanbul, Village, Raiders of the North Sea and the list goes on. Thanks for your thoughts in this review!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
scott w
United States
Providence
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Thanks for checking out the review! I can't recommend Orleans enough, especially when a new expansion is releasing this year for it. If you can grab a deluxe version for a reasonable price, I think you'll be pleased.

I've played Istanbul and really enjoyed it. Very thinky game. The standard setup they recommend sometimes feels stale. I've heard the expansions turn it from a "very good" game into an "amazing" game. It certainly doesn't get to the table as much as it should in my group.

Raiders of the North Sea looks very good as well. If you like the put down and pick up mechanic, take a look at Coldwater Crown. The fishing theme may not be your thing, but if you like the mechanics of it, it's a terrific game!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.