If you haven’t played Orleans, check out my review. If you have played it though, then here’s my thoughts on potential strategies for this deep strategic game.
During the Game:
Money is important; Money is a big scoring factor and may even allow you actions in the game. You need to keep a steady flow of money coming in through the game. Don’t wait too late for this money trickle to begin as there is only so much you can bring in each turn and you will need lots before the end of the game.
Middle of the Matrix; There are many ways to score points but it’s a multiplier – therefore you have to be careful that going too far on one track (at the cost of the other) is in fact not as good for your score. Specifically 2×4 < 3×3. In particular here I am talking about the balance of laying buildings and the stars on the path at the bottom. When you multiply the two, if you only have 1 or 2 in one category you won’t get the kind of score you were hoping for or need! Therefore, don’t focus on one at the cost of the other until you are going to get above 3 on both!
Movement Adds; Most points scoring systems only get you one set of points. Moving on the board, however, allows you to place buildings and pick up food. The food may avoid you losing coins (far more points than the food) and will also score at the end of the game. Move tactically and strategically – get the items you need, maximise points, but don’t go back on yourself at any point in the game.
Tech for Village; Tech from craftsman is a powerful bonus action that has more effect the earlier you play it. The more turns it is on the board the more you will be able to use it. Getting tech starts with a tech that will cover a farmer – that farmer should be the one for the village. If that’s not immediately obvious, I see it as key because this farmer is one of a three piece set and because this action will be the one that allows you to get more tech.
Monks; Monks can be anything. Get as many of them, as early and with as little else in your bag. This is the way to be flexible. this is the way to always maximise your actions. Don’t end up with more monks than you need, but in reality this is almost impossible as everyone will rush for the monks.
Cull; The late game is all about thinning the bag. It’s time to take out everything you don’t need as you go, and putting it into the central board that scores points. You will make it more efficient to draw for the final rounds and ensure you get the right pieces at the right time.
Farmers Adds; Like the roads, the farmers should not be forgotten – they give you food which might avoid the misfortune of losing 5 coins in some turns. The items also score points and going far on this path can be worthwhile. Especially if you can bury the farmers on the board waiting for other tokens to circle round.
Don’t Trail; Farmers also gain coins if ahead and lose coins if behind. Being ahead is not that important, but losing a coin every turn can quickly run you out of cash (and hence lose items) or can certainly hurt your score.
Tech for Solo; Some buildings require two workers to trigger. Specifically when it’s tech you purchased in the game, this can be quite a powerful action. With only one worker requirement this becomes a regular action you can take even with a small number of tokens.
Bathhouse & Bar; I like this combo because the bar earns you more coins per round with just a monk, and the bathhouse allows you to draw another token from the bag. If you use the bar first, this can mean that if you draw a monk you will be able to play the bar twice in one round – that’s a lot of money per round!
Knights; A key worker in the late early game / early mid game, this is the worker that allows you to gain more tokens per turn. Again the earlier the better, but not too early as you may not actually be able to do anything with the extra pieces!