The beloved character from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry gets his own game about building the perfect planet, complete with a cast of zany characters.
|The Little Prince: Make Me A Planet||Game Salute / Ludonaute||Tile-Laying Game|
In The Box
In the realm of children’s books, The Little Prince must rank near the very top. It’s the most widely read and frequently translated French book, to boot! Turns out, the game inspired by de Saint-Exupéry’s wandering prince is also pretty great. The art style is very true to the book, with recognizable characters and the signature planetoid. These planets are populated by snakes, lamps, foxes, and all kinds of other objects which play a central role in scoring.
The actual contents of the box are extremely simple: A stack of tiles that players draw from during the game. There are also 5 small, round cardboard tokens that are at first a bit mysterious. The instructions included with The Little Prince game don’t even mention the tokens, but we figured out that they’re intended to be used with the score tracker printed on the back/bottom of the game’s box. We used poker chips for scoring our first few games, and any collection of about 40+ tokens will do if you prefer this approach.
How It Plays
The planet building that goes on in the game is every bit as fun as you would imagine, especially considering The Little Prince requires no reading. Setting up to play is as simple as organizing four piles that players draw from on each turn. The back of a tile shows either the edge of a planet, a center piece, or stars. Even though the game manual draws a distinction between the two different planet edges, it will take a few games for players to figure out exactly which kind is needed to complete their planets.
Another aspect of The Little Prince game that makes it well suited to younger players is the fact that it will never go more than 16 rounds, since a finished planet is made up of exactly 16 tiles. The goal is to select tiles that will add up to the highest score once your planet is finished. Players draw as many tiles each round as there are people around the table. The person drawing selects who will choose next, and on down the line until the person making the final choice becomes the first to draw in the next round.
Four special tiles around the edge of each planet show 10 characters (plus a tile for The Little Prince himself) whose preferences dictate your score. If you draw The Lamplighter early, you’ll need to try and grab tiles with lots of lamps. Every game will be a little different, so you may have already filled out the center of your planet before seeing a character tile up for grabs that can help you. A good variation suggested in the manual for older players is to keep character tiles hidden until the end of the game, so opponents can only guess your strategy based on the tiles you’re gathering.
The Little Prince is unassuming but powerful fun for groups with young players. It would be hard to make this challenging for kids older than about 10, but the “hidden character tile” variant goes a long way. At the very least you should handicap adults by forcing them to expose their character tiles while the kids’ tiles are hidden.
Even thought it does look like a game for a little kid it can be great for all ages. Some characters like The Drunkard add more strategy by turning negatives into positives, and there are twists like The King character who gives a bigger score for planets with fewer objects.