Orléans is a deck-builder played with fancy bags and a bazillion chits!
In each round, an event is revealed, then everyone draws a bunch of character chits from their fancy bags, and they assign them as workers to their personal action boards. The players then take turns to carry out one of their chosen actions, until everyone is done. Then the event is resolved (some are good, some are bad), the next round begins, and the game ends after 18 rounds.
The actions let you buy additional character chits, which go into your bag, and each character gives you additional abilities e.g. Farmers give you food (worth VPs), Craftsmen give you technology tiles which can be used to make actions cheaper, Knights let you draw more tiles from your bag etc.
Over time, your bag will be full of a bunch of chits, but you can only draw a maximum of 8 chits per round (assuming you've bought a bunch of Knights) so you'll need to start 'thinning your deck' by using the Town Hall action to send chits to a separate board where you get more bonuses.
There is a map on which you can travel by road and river, collecting more goods chits along the way, and building guildhalls which will give you VPs at game end. And you can buy building tiles which give you extra actions on your personal board, or special abilities.
Basically, there's a whole bunch of stuff going on! However, the game still manages to move at a fairly good pace, mainly because the 'draw chits and allocate workers to actions' part of the round is done simultaneously, activating each action is really quick, and players take turns to carry out one of their actions.
So, it manages to blend familiar mechanisms into a unique and surprisingly fun game. Thoroughly recommended!
Final scores: Tom 111, Bart 108, Roger 96, David 93