Orléans gameplay idea is very similar to many other point grabbers: you can perform different actions to score points in different ways. Swipe all those arithmetic together and there you go, you’ve come up with another game. Fortunately, Orléans takes a less cynical approach than that. The actions not only score points, they also influence which actions you can do later in the game.
For the actions you need chips in different colors, which represent different professions, such as farmers, knights and traders. You start with four chips, which you use in prescribed combinations to perform certain actions. With many actions you perform, you will receive a new chip. This is where the idea of deck building comes into play: all the chips you have placed and received go into a bag, from which you draw new chips at the beginning. So if you often choose the action where you also get a farmer, it becomes increasingly difficult to perform actions that do not require a farmer. You need to manage your stock of chips wisely.
The actions that earn points are mainly aimed at the central board, on which Orléans and the surrounding villages and towns are depicted. You score points by picking up goods when you travel between places and building houses in those places themselves. You need to be there in time, so keep an eye on your opponents. The game ends after a fixed number of rounds, after which the final score follows. You can already earn points during the game, but most of them are scored at the end, especially based on how your position on the board has developed.
Orléans Review Summary
Orléans fortunately transcends the ‘spreadsheet genre’ by cleverly using the principle of deckbuilding. You need to coordinate your actions well so that you don’t completely lock yourself in later, but you also need to keep an eye on short-term gains. With some actions you can also get private buildings, with actions that only you can perform. This gives Orléans a bit more schwung and the necessary variation. I’m still not a fan of the genre, but within the genre, Orléans is in a very good place.