The strong reputation of “bag-buider” Orléans preceded it, even as multiple expansions were released, and the mechanically similar Altiplano divided audiences, and then the Alitplano expansion came out, and TMG re-released Orléans with improved components…! All this, and i hadn’t even played the game yet. Thank goodness for Christmas presents. Here’s my unboxing of Orléans, which may interest you if you have the earlier non-TMG version, or if you want to witness my childlike excitement at opening presents.

(click to view transcript)

Hi everyone! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and this is a game called Orléans, the TMG version, which i picked up for a number of reasons. i like deck-building games, but i don’t like shuffling cards because i’m lousy at it! So in order to get that deck-building mechanic, i actually started to buy a lot of dice-building, or dice-drafting, games, where it’s the same kind of thing, where it just replaces the cards with dice. So i tried a game called Quarriors! and bought a few expansions and i didn’t really like it. And they did that thing that i don’t like when board games do, where they release expansions, and not all expansions are compatible with each other, when you add them to the base game. So Quarriors! did that. Bad News Bears. It also has probably the worst board game name in existence, which is Quarriors: Quest for the Qladiator. Daww! It’s like poison – it’s like BILE in my mouth just to say the name of that game. So i bought a lot of deck-builders. What else did i buy? i bought King’s Forge.. is it called King’s Forge? Yeah, King’s Forge. And i didn’t enjoy King’s Forge, because it had the same problem that Quarriors! did. They released expansions that weren’t compatible with one another, and not only that, it was… what do i say about King’s Forge? It wasn’t… enough. It was really, really simple. It was TOO simple, i think. There wasn’t enough going on, and it was one of those things where you could see somebody way ahead in points, and you knew there was just kinda no way to catch up to them, you know? The person who started ahead stayed ahead, and there wasn’t a whole lot of swing in points or really hope for the people who felt like they were dropping behind. i mean, it was nicely illustrated. The dice are nice, everything else was fine, but… it just wasn’t enough for me. And then… dice draft… so then i bought Dice Forge. And that i quite enjoyed. It was likewise similar, but i’m a sucker for nice artwork, and that has some of the nicest artwork i have seen in any game, ever. It was so gorgeous that i will play that game even though it’s a little bit more simple than i’d like it to be… i’ll just play it because it’s just drop dead gorgeous, and i’m…. shallow. Now, we get to Orléans, and if you’ve watched my Agricola video, you know that i’m not a big fan of Klemens Franz’s artwork, and this is no exception. i think he’s amateurish. i don’t like the look of his stuff. It’s not very good at all, and for some reason, he’s the illustrator on so many top-selling board games, so many famous titles. This one, it’s almost forgivable because he’s mimicking a style from hundreds and hundreds of years ago, which wasn’t well-drawn either, so (laughs) it’s kind of like alright, you get Klemens Franz who can’t really draw people, and you get him to draw people in a medium where people couldn’t draw people. i can deal with it, i can deal with it. Orléans is a bag-drafting game. That’s how it’s been described to me, where i think, anyway, from what i’ve seen, and i… as usual, i buy a game without knowing anything about it, because i love to waste money, and i’m going to die a pauper in a debtor’s prison. But i bought it because it’s well-regarded, and it was down to this and another game called Altiplano – i hope i’m saying that right – which is another bag-drafting thing, where you’ve got a bag full of stuff, and the stuff sucks, and then you use that stuff to buy better stuff to put in the bag to hopefully draw it out, so you’re drawing better and better things out of your bag! So it’s interesting: we go from card-drafting to dice-drafting to, now, stuff-in-a-bag-drafting, which is what Orléans is. Illustrated by Klemens Franz. Let’s open it up and see what’s inside! Now the reason why i pointed out that it’s theTMG version is apparently because the publisher who published this before was not TMG, and the TMG version has nicer stuff in it than the previous version. So if you haven’t seen what’s in the TMG version… keep watching! (laughs) “This product is not a toy!” Then what IS it? “It’s not intended for use by persons 13 years of age or younger.” Could you IMAGINE…. ? (laughs) Could you imagine your eleven-year-old kid has a copy of Orléans, like, stuffed under his mattress, and then you go into his room at night and you’re like “What are you doing??” “Uhhh nothing, dad!” and he’s “Is that a copy of Orléans?? IT BETTER NOT BE! That product is not a toy!” Some weird… Maybe that’s, like, a German safety requirement by law? i dunno. That’s really strange. It’s like Lego, where they say it’s good for ages 4-99, and then, like, 100-year-old people are like “(crying) Meh-heh – i can’t play with Lego any more!” Strange. This is a very heavy box. i’ll say that right out. It’s very heavy. Box Fart-O-Meter: zero. Oh – look! And it’s an ad for the expansion right off the top. i knew this, and i… i read that the Invasion expansion is super-cool. i won’t know… it’s $49.95 from There you go. Free ad for you, fellas! Enjoy it! Instruction booklet, as usual, right off the top. Oh, that’s nice. They say – look – if you need replacement parts, bug these guys. That’s lovely. i’ve had no problems with parts being replaced by board game companies so far. i’ve been very lucky. i think i lost a skull in Scoundrels of Skullport, the Lords of Waterdeep expansion, and they replaced that for me. That was nice. Wizards of the Coast. Thank you, Wizards. And then, just recently, one of my Tzolk’in starting tiles… i bought the game years ago and i never bothered to get it replaced, but you know when you punch stuff out, and sometimes the paper rips on it? So that was a bummer because it was the back of one of the starting tiles, and it – you’re not supposed to know which starting tile is which. It’s a random distribution off the top, so to have one of them marred like that and identifiable wasn’t great, so i wrote to them and they said “Yeah, no problem! We’ll send you another one.” That was… Czech Games Edition. Thank you, CGE. A lovely, as usual….gorgeous, full-colour, illustrated instruction booklet that clocks in at 12 pages. It’s got a bit of breathing room in the text, and a lot of pictures, and it looks like it’s really nicely sorted, and colour-coded sections of gameplay. Beautiful! That looks like it’s not intimidating to read. Oh – lovely! These are nice little… ffffelt? Flocked? i dunno what the right term is… uh, drawstring bags. You can kinda… kinda see through them. It’s like those cheap blindfold kits you buy for, you know pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey when you’re a kid, and you can like totally see what’s going on and where the donkey’s butt is, but i don’t think it matters in lower light. i’ve got the studio lights blazing on me. One, two, three, four flocked bags. And a bag of wood! A bag of BAGS of wood! In each player colour. Silica gel. And – interesting that these are in their own little bag. i’m gonna guess these are scoring tokens. They look like little people, but not your standard meeples. They’re a little bit more anatomically correct NOT IN THAT WAY, and Monopoly-style houses and little… cubes?… for the player pieces. And cardboard! Oh my God!(laughs wheezingly) Ohhhh Nellie! Look at that! Whew! Looks like on the bottom, at least some of that…. phOOOphhhhbbtt! Some of that thickness is mitigated by the fact that it’s the board. Okay, so there’s, like, probably a common – common board where scoring and stuff happens. Fine. And then, about maybe three quarters of an inch is taken up with the Orléans main board, which looks fine. It’s a bit spare, but i mean, they’re try… they’re going for a style, and i know the artwork that they’re trying to imitate. That’s cool. Looks fine. Again, i don’t like his people. Like, this looks like it’s… is this first-draft doodle, Klemens? What IS this? i dunno. But then THIS is a full inch-and-a-half, inch-and-three-quarters STACK of cardboard. Standard thickness that you’d expect. Nice, glossy finish. Money, wheat, tiles… tiles with gigantic Roman numerals on the back. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of stuff. i mean, i guess, i think – as usual, not knowing anything about the game, i think these are some of the player pieces that end up in your bag that you draw. This is a case where maybe … some people i know, when they have a game like this, they actually have coin cases, and they put their discs in coin cases…? Because i wonder, like, if you could get a nick on the side of one of these, and then if you were really astute at feeling your way around that bag, and you can be like “Ah, i gotta get the guy with a nick in the side!” Possibly? i dunno. You’d have to be pretty – pretty picky, i think, to want to case these up. More – we’ve got knights, we’ve got badly-illustrated monks! Shields. Oh – okay. And then, so it’s only – it’s only that much that is punchable. (chuckles) Or if Klemens Franz watches this video, maybe i’m punchable? And then another quarter-inch or so are the 4-player boards that are – i like it when the player boards are actually colour-coded to the player. It’s a minor thing, but it’s a nice touch! i have absolutely nothing else to say about this game, other than i’m super excited to play it! That’s Orléans. i’ll play it as usual, get it to the table, do a How to Play, as i’ve always done, and then – i mean it’d be great to do an unboxing and a How to Play of Altiplano, and THEN do a comparison video of what i think of them. That’ll be a little bit down the road. For now, thank you for watching! Did you just watch that whole thing? Oh – hey! To 100% this video, click the badge to subscribe, then click the bell to get notifications when i’ve got new stuff!

Get Your Own Copy of Orléans

One interesting drawback to the TMG version of Orléans is that a neat solution to sprucing up the game is to encase the workers in coin capsules (you know, the kind that coin collectors use?) The trick is that this improved version uses cardboard so thick that it rules out most of the cheaper coin capsule options, and you’re left with the choice of buying capsules that tally up well over the cost of the game itself, or just leave it alone and hope your worker tokens don’t get wrecked.  Still, this seems like the minor-est of minor problems. Use the Amazon link below to buy your own copy of Orléans, and we’ll receive a small commission. (But it won’t be enough to buy even one of those coin capsules!)

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