Ora et Labora

Ora et Labora – Rules, Strategy & Winning Tips for the Tile Board Game


Ora et Labora is a game that I’ve played a lot. It’s a tile-based game where you’re like a head of a monastery in the Middle Ages (the game name translates as Pray and Work). You’ve got to build up your place by gathering resources, building structures, and making products. The game was made by Uwe Rosenberg, who also made Agricola and Le Havre, so if you know those games or have read my guides on them previously, you’ll see some similar ideas.

Ora et Labora came out in 2011 and it’s been pretty popular among people who like strategy, tile-based games. It’s a bit complex, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really rewarding.

Quick Tip for Ora et Labora

Always plan a few moves ahead and keep an eye on what buildings other players are going for!

Rules for playing Ora et Labora

So, the rules of Ora et Labora can seem a bit much at first, but don’t worry, I’ll walk you through them. Each player starts with a heartland board, a few resources, and a head monk. The game is played over a series of rounds, and each round has a bunch of turns. On your turn, you can do stuff like gather resources, build buildings, or use buildings. There’s this wheel thing that keeps track of resources, and it turns after every player’s turn, which changes how much stuff is available.

You’ve got two types of buildings: standard and special. Standard buildings are available to everyone, but special buildings can only be built once. When you build, you put a tile on your board, and it can give you resources or points or other bonuses. There’s also this thing called ‘settlements’ where you group buildings together for extra points.

The game ends after a certain number of rounds, and then you add up points from buildings, leftover resources, and settlements. The player with the most points wins. There’s more to it, but that’s the basic idea.

Equipment and Setup for Ora et Labora

For Ora et Labora, you need the game box which comes with a bunch of stuff: heartland boards for each player, resource wheel, building cards, worker tokens, and resource tokens. You can make some DIY pieces if you lose something, but it’s best to have the original stuff.

Setup is like this: each player gets a heartland board and some starting resources. You set up the resource wheel and lay out the building cards. There are different types of tiles, like buildings, settlements, and land tiles. You’ll use these to build up your board.

How to Play Ora et Labora and Game Mechanics

Here’s how the game goes:

  1. Key Game Mechanics: You’re managing resources, building stuff, and trying to score points. The resource wheel is key because it shows what’s available each turn.
  2. Setup: Give out the boards and resources, set up the wheel and buildings, and decide who goes first.
  3. Gameplay: On your turn, you can take resources, build, or use a building. Turns keep going around until the game ends.
  4. End of the Game: The game ends after a set number of rounds. Then you score points for buildings, resources, and settlements.

During the game, you’ll go through these phases:

  1. Work Phase: Take resources or use a building action.
  2. Build Phase: Build a building or a settlement.
  3. Settlement Phase: Sometimes you’ll make a settlement for extra points.

How to Win at Ora et Labora

Winning at Ora et Labora is about balance. You need to get resources, but also turn them into buildings and points. Beginners should focus on understanding how different buildings work together. Intermediate players can start planning their turns in advance, and advanced players will be looking at what others are doing and trying to block them or get there first.

It’s also about timing. You want to build stuff when it’ll give you the most points, and sometimes that means waiting for the right moment. And don’t forget about settlements; they can be a big point boost if you do them right.

Best Strategies for playing Ora et Labora game

For the best strategies, you want to keep an eye on the resource wheel and plan your moves around it. You also want to be flexible; if someone takes the building you wanted, have a backup plan. And try to get a good mix of buildings that give you resources and buildings that give you points.

Another strategy is to watch what other players are doing. If you can predict their moves, you can plan yours to either block them or take advantage of the buildings they’re not using. And always be thinking about your settlements; they should be a big part of your strategy.


Good scenarios are when you’ve got a bunch of resources and a clear plan for what to build. Bad scenarios are when you’re low on resources or other players keep taking the buildings you need. When things aren’t going your way, try to adapt. Look for different buildings that can give you what you need, or change your plan to focus on different points.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Ora et Labora game

Here are some common questions:

Q: How many players can play Ora et Labora?
A: It’s for 1 to 4 players.

Q: How long does a game usually take?
A: About 2 to 3 hours, depending on the number of players.

Q: Can I play Ora et Labora solo?
A: Yes, there are solo rules in the rulebook.

Q: What’s the best way to learn Ora et Labora?
A: Play a few practice rounds to get used to the mechanics.

Q: Is Ora et Labora similar to Agricola?
A: They have some similar ideas, but Ora et Labora has its own unique mechanics.

For more info on Ora et Labora, check out these links:

Ora et Labora Review [Video]