Orleans

Personal Ranking: 10 (2016 ranking)

Time to Play (in my experience): 90 minutes

Age Level: I probably wouldn’t go lower than 13 or 14 on this game.

Difficulty Level: 4 (10-20 minutes to teach, less than 2 hours to play)

Type of Game:Bag Building”. This is similar to deck-building (see Dominion), however instead of obtaining new cards, players obtain new discs (workers). These go into your own personal bag

Game Setting: Medieval France

Brief overview of how to play: Each player starts off with four workers (discs) that they draw out of their own personal bag. These discs are then placed on action spaces on your own personal board. Then one at a time, each player takes one action by removing their discs, taking the reward from the action, and putting the discs back in the bag. Often this will result in getting new discs to take better actions. Play continues clockwise until all players are out of actions, signifying the end of the round. The next round begins with all players drawing their discs out of the bag again and repeating the process until 18 rounds have been played.

 

A game of Orleans in progress. This game does take up some space.

How many players does it play?: 2-4

Ideal number?: 3 or 4

Why do I love/recommend this game?:

1) I love drawing stuff out of a bag: It’s so exciting each round to see what workers/discs you will draw out of the bag. Sometimes you will get draws that are not at all what you were wanting, but you’ve got to make the best of it.

2) Many paths to victory: I have seen all kinds of different strategies win in this game, and I love trying different ways each time. 

3) Easy scoring: The chart is very clear as to what will get you points at the end of the game. 

4) Placement of discs is clear: When you draw your discs out of the bag, it is very clear where they can be placed. Blue discs get placed on blue spots, white discs on white spots, etc. 

 

Here's a picture of a player's personal board. The round spots are where you place your discs.

Match color to color or picture to picture.

5) Smooth gameplay: Although this is a little bit of a longer game, the game flows so smoothly. It’s what we gamer types sometimes call “elegant design.”

6) Language Independent: Only symbols are used in the gameplay, so there aren’t a lot of confusing rules to read on cards or anything. This game could also be used with people who know little or no English (presuming, of course, you could explain the basics of the game in their language). 

Is there anything offensive in this game? Anything at all?: Well, since the monks are “wild” (can be placed anywhere), we sometimes have fun with that (clerical humor, I suppose), but no, there is nothing offensive in the game that I can see.

Final word: I love it when games have rather simple mechanisms that give great strategic depth. Orleans is one of those wonderful, elegant games that I keep wanting to try again and again.

Amazon.com price at time of posting: $42.54

 

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