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How To Play Orleans (10 Minute Guide)

How To Play Orleans (10 Minute Guide)


Orléans is a bag building game, where the focus of the game is to assemble your personal bag of tokens so that these tokens will be pulled from the bag during game play allowing you to perform powerful actions and combos to score victory points. After “buying” different townsfolk such as knights or farmers, you insert them into your bag to later be drawn and used to buy other more powerful townsfolk or to explore the map and set up trading posts.

If you don’t own Orleans already, check it out here on Amazon.


Each player is given:
1 bag
5 coins
Their player color pieces (7 markers, 1 Player Board, 1 Merchant Token, 10 Trading Stations & 1 set of Followers: Farmer, Boatman, Craftsman and Tradesman)

Set up the Game Board and Beneficial Deeds Board.

Place the Technology Tiles (Wagon Wheel shaped) on the appropriate space on the board.

Remove the “Pilgrimage” Tile (Lighter Blue) from the Hourglass Deck, shuffle the remaining and Stack. The Pilgrimage tile goes on top and will always be the first event of the game.

Place 1 player of each color marker on each of the Character & Development Tracks.

Sort the Character Tiles and place them on the appropriate spaces on the board.

Note: For a 3 player game remove 2 Farmers, Boatmen, Craftsmen, and Traders. Remove 3 Knights, Scholars and Monks. In a 2 Player game remove 4 Farmers, Boatmen, Craftsmen and Traders. Remove 6 Knights, Scholars, and Monks.

Place the 13 Citizen Tiles on the marked spaces of the game board and Beneficial Deeds Board.

Each player places their merchant token in Orléans.

Shuffle the Goods Tiles and place them face up on the roads and waterway spaces.

Note: For a 4 player game all spaces will be filled. For 3 Players, placement in “4” areas are excluded. For 2 Players, placement in “3” & “4” areas are excluded. In a 3 Player game, before placing, remove 6 random goods. In a 2 Player game, remove 12 goods.

Place all remaining Good Tiles in their appropriate spot on the left side of the game board.

Sort the Place Tiles by Roman Numeral and place them in separate stacks on the table. No need to shuffle.

The Youngest Player (or random player) is chosen as the Start Player and receives the Start Player tile.

You are ready to begin!


Goal of the Game

Orléans is played over a number of rounds set by the number of Hour Glass tiles (18). During each round you will draw Followers out of your bag equal to your progress on the Knight track. Everyone simultaneously draws their Followers and places them in their marketplace. Note: You cannot draw more tiles from you bag than you have room in your market. All players then move as many of their Followers from the market to places on the board. Filling the requirements for a place will activate that action. By filling the places, players will be able to “buy” more Followers, advance on various tracks or move about the country side collecting goods and setting up new Trading Stations.

To score points, players must collect goods and coins, see the end for values of each good. Players will also count the number of Trading Stations and Citizen Tiles they have collected. This total will be multiplied by the highest Development Status you have reached on the Development Track. Note the bottom of the game board, the stars indicate your Development Status.

How to Play

The game is divided up into 18 different rounds, each having 7 phases.

Phase 1:

Flip over the next Hourglass tiles. This will be the event for this round that is carried out in Phase 6, except for the 1st event: Pilgrimage. The Rulebook has a detailed explanation of each event.

Phase 2:

Players check to see who is the highest and who is the lowest on the Farmer Track. The highest player receives one coin from the supply. If there is a tie, no player receives a coin. The lowest player pays one coin to the supply. If there is a tie, no player pays a coin. In a 2 player game, the lowest player NEVER pays a coin.

Phase 3:

Players simultaneously remove Followers from their bag equal to their Knight track and places them in their market. Remember, you cannot remove more Followers from the bag than you have places in your market.

Phase 4:

Players simultaneously move Followers from their market to Places on the board, by filling the requirements of a Place they will be able to activate that Place. If Followers are moved to a Place but the Place is not filled the Followers will be left there for following rounds. Note: To remove a Follower from a Place in later rounds, a player can opt to draw one fewer Follower from the bag and move the placed Follower back to the market.

Phase 5:

Beginning with the Start Player, each player carries out one action OR pass. A player is able to carry out an action by removing Followers under an activated Place (activated places must have the required Followers or Technology markers). The Followers are placed back in the player’s bag and the action is carried out. Technology markers are left in place. More on each action below. If a player passes they cannot do any more actions that round. Once all players have passed move on to Phase 6.

Phase 6:

Resolve the Event shown on this round’s Hourglass Tile. Reference Rule book for explanation of Event tiles.

Phase 7:

The Start Player Tile is passed to next player in clockwise order and the round is over. Go back to Phase 1.


Types of Actions:

Below are types of actions that can be carried out in Phase 5. Note: If a player is the first to move their marker onto a Citizen Tile on a track, that player will receive that Citizen Tile. Also Note: If the Follower tile of a particular action is no longer available, that action is no longer available.   


Take a Farmer Follower into your bag, move up on the Farm track and take the depicted good.


Take a Boatman Follower into your bag, move up on Boatman track and take the depicted money.


Take a Craftsman Follower into your bag, take a Technology tile and place it next to your board. Move up on the Craftsman track. The Technology tile can be placed once you have passed for the round. Technology tiles can be used to permanently fulfill one of the requirements of an action. It is never removed from the board once placed.

Technology placement restrictions:

  • 1st Technology placement must be placed over a farmer.
  • Monks can never be replaced by a Technology tile.
  • You can not place more than 1 Technology tile in one Place.
  • You cannot place a Technology tile on a Place that only requires one Follower.


Take a Trader Follower into your bag, move up on the Trader Track. You may now look through either the Level I or Level I AND II Place tiles and add one to your player area. These Places are now available for your sole use for the rest of the game. Reference Rule book for list of new Place tile actions.


Take a Scholar Follower into your bag, move up 1 space on the University Track. Now move up on the Development Track by the number of spaces denoted on the University Track. If you move onto or past the coin icons, collect that many coins.


Take a Knight Follower into your bag, move up on the Castle Track. This track denotes how many Followers you can draw from your bag in Phase 3.


Take a Monk Follower into your bag. Monks are wild Followers and can substitute for any other Follower requirement in a Place.

Ship & Wagon:

Move your Merchant token along either the Waterway(blue, using ship) or Road (brown, using wagon). If there is a good or goods on the way you can take onegood into your collection.


If your Merchant is in a town with no other Trading Station, you may build a Trading Station. Only one Trading Station can be placed in any city. Exception: everyone can build a Trading Station in Orléans.

Town Hall:

During Phase 4, players can move 1 OR 2 Followers into the Town Hall. Then during Phase 5, players can move 1 or both Followers on to a free space on the Beneficial Deeds board. Players receive rewards denoted by coins or books per placement. If a player fills a Beneficial Deed, that player receives a Citizen Tile. Beneficial Deeds must be filled by the exact type of Follower and CANNOT be filled by a players starting Followers!

End of Game:

The game ends after Phase 7 of the 18th round. The player with the most Trading Stations receives the last Citizen Tile. If there is a tie, the Citizen Tile is not taken.

Add up Victory Points:
1 VP for each Coin and Grain
2 VP for each Cheese
3 VP for each Wine
4 VP for each Wool
5 VP for each Brocades

Add up each Trading Stations and Citizen Tiles and multiply by the highest Development rating (stars) on the Development Track.

The player with the most Victory Points wins, if there is a tie the player highest on the Development Track wins. If still a tie, there is a shared victory.


While there are multiple avenues to victory in this game, beginners should try not to neglect the Development Track as this is the score multiplier for the game. Focusing on Trading Station is good but if the Development Track is neglected these Trading Stations or Citizen Tiles won’t be worth much.
Familiarizing yourself with the new Place Tiles will help you form a strategy, you might want to look at these early in the game even before the purchasing one.


The Rulebook has an advanced rule where each player can take out one new Place Tile from the game. This allows for more strategies being to be pursued. This also mitigates what people believe are some of the overpowered Place Tiles. Some groups choose just to take out certain tiles, like the Bathhouse.

Orléans also has an expansion called Invasion in which players play cooperatively.

Player Count Variation:

Orléans plays roughly the same with 2,3 or 4 players. During set-up certain tiles are removed from the game if there are less than 4 players. The Beneficial Deeds board does not change with player count, so many of the Citizen Tiles on that board are usually not collected with lower player counts.

In a 3 player game remove 2 Farmers, Boatmen, Craftsmen, and Traders. Remove 3 Knights, Scholars and Monks. In a 2 Player game remove 4 Farmers, Boatmen, Craftsmen and Traders. Remove 6 Knights, Scholars, and Monks.

When distributing good tiles, In a 3 Players, placement in “4” areas are excluded. For 2 Players, placement in “3” & “4” areas are excluded. In a 3 Player game, before placing, remove 6 random goods. In a 2 Player game, remove 12 goods.

There is also an expansion to add a 5th player.

Quick Info

Play time: 90 minutes
Suggest Player Age: 12+
Community Rating: 8/10
Difficulty: Medium
Year Published: 2014
Designer: Reiner Stockhausen
Publishers: dlp games, Angry Lion Games, Arclight, Arrakis Games, Baldar, Cranio Creations, GaGa Games, Matagot, Meeple BR Jogos, Surfin’ Meeple China, Swan Panasia Co., Ltd., Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG), White Goblin Games


2016 Tric Trac Nominee

2016 Gouden Ludo Best Expert Game Winner

2016 Gouden Ludo Best Expert Game Nominee

2015 Spiel der Spiele Hit für Experten Recommended

2015 Kennerspiel des Jahres Nominee

2015 JUG Game of the Year Winner

2015 International Gamers Award – General Strategy: Multi-player Nominee

2014 Meeples’ Choice Nominee

2014 Golden Geek Most Innovative Board Game Nominee

2014 Golden Geek Board Game of the Year Nominee

2014 Golden Geek Best Strategy Board Game Nominee

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