Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince holds a special place in my heart. I was first introduced to the book my senior year of high school, when we were tasked with translating the text. I fell in love with the language and messages of the book then.
Five years later, when Dan and I got married, two sentences from the book formed the basis of our wedding ceremony:
On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essential est invisible pour les yeux.
(You can only see clearly with the heart. The most important things are invisible to the eye.)
So it was with a sense of nostalgia that we picked up a copy of The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet at the Enchanted Badger last fall. As it turns out, it is a charming and simple little game. The artwork on everything in the game, from the box to the instructions to the play tiles, comes straight from the book, and many of the characters and themes play off the book’s plot as well. Where in the book too many baobab trees would crush a planet, in the game, having too many baobab trees will cost you points. In the story, the lamplighter constantly lights and extinguishes his lamp, so if you have his character in the game, you get one point per lamppost on your planet.
The game is simple to learn and quick to play. There is a small bit of competition: you must judge which of the available tiles will help you without leaving open a high-scoring tile for one of your opponents. But for the most part, each player is on their own, and it isn’t very cutthroat. We’ve enjoyed playing this as a palate cleanser at the end of the night, or as an introduction to board games with our non-gaming friends.
By the end of the game, every player will have created a round planet out of 16 tiles. There are four sets of tile types – those that make up the center of the planets, two different sets of edges (one sloping up, one sloping down, so you can make a complete circle by the end), and character tiles that make up the corners. On each turn, one player chooses one type of tile, and flips over as many tiles as there are players. They select one tile to add to their planet, then the person to their left chooses a tile from the remaining face-up pieces, and so on until everyone has a new tile. Play passes to the left.
Be careful of the baobab trees! If you have 3 on your planet, you must flip over all your tree-containing tiles to their blank backside, and you’ll lose all the points from those tiles.
The characters mean that each player’s planet will be scored differently, as different characters give points for different items. For instance, the little prince tile gives a layer 3 points for each color of sheep they have on their planet, as well as one per box. The geographer gives one point per tile with no volcanoes, the astronomer gives two points per sunset, and so on.
Number of Players:
There is a set of modified rules for a two-player game included, but the game seems to work best with 3-5 players.
Set Up Time:
Nearly none. Just put out the four sets of tiles in the middle of the table, and you’re ready to go.
Play Time for New Players:
Play Time for Experienced Players:
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
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