Why I love...Le Petit Prince
“All grown-ups were children first. (But few remember it).”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
I have a games crush on Antoine Bauza! For some reason his designs speak to me and hook me in to the point that I'm an addict! I fell in love with 7 Wonders and played it incessantly for a year, Takenoko is pretty much the cutest game ever made and Hanabi… ooooh Hanabi. I play Hanabi any chance I get. The pursuit of the perfect 25 point game of Hanabi has thus far eluded me, but I'll keep trying till I get it.
I think it's his straight forward approach and the uniqueness of the mechanics he dreams up that make Bauza such a consistent hit with me.
Right off the bat I fell in love with Le Petit Prince by Bauza and Bruno Cathala. In Prince each player is building their own 16 tile planets. The tiles have a variety of different features, snakes, sheep, foxes and elephants can all be scored for points; volcanoes and Baobab Trees carry inherit danger with them. The planets will consist of four centre tiles, 4 each of left and right sloping edge tiles and four corner tiles which are the scoring tiles.
Points are specific to the scoring tiles you have. The Turkish Astronomer will reward stars, The Hunter wants to collect animals and The Gardener will give you points for trees, but beware! One or two trees is no problem, but a 3rd tree will force the player to flip every tile that has a tree on it.
The first player chooses what type of tiles to play each round, flips as many tiles as there are players and then selects the tile they want the most. Here's where it gets interesting, the start player will then select which player will go next. It sounds simple, but choosing which player will go after you can be extremely powerful. Each successive player will choose who will follow them. The last player will get stuck with whatever the final tile is, which stinks! But, it's not all bad. They will get to go first in the next round and choose what type of tiles the players will be picking from.
So, what's so great about The Little Prince?
It's a short game. Rounds usually last about a half an hour and there can be big point swings in that time. There is a level of controlled chaos to the gameplay. You may be forced to take that third tree and not have any way to avoid it. For some people that's a negative, but I enjoy that aspect. Each game is different. There are many paths to victory and many different strategies to get there. Finally this is a mean game. I know it doesn't seem that way with its cutesy theme, but you have to consider what the other players want of the remaining tiles when choosing turn order. Finding the way to stick someone with the worst tile for them is incredible fun! You can ruin someone's game with a carefully played turn.
The Little Prince is cute and it is short, but don't be fooled! This is a gamer's game and there is a whole lot in a little package.