Posted by James (admin) on March 28th, 2011
Prrrt is a game by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc – the same team that brought us the superb Mow (also by the same publisher and artist). Prrrt definitely has a unique theme as players are aiming to take the least shame for farting in an enclosed space. Yes, you read that right.
The game consists of 3 types of cards – shame, smell and location. Each incident, a location is drawn which determines the direction of play and the starting number of shame cards. The game ends when there has been at least 1 incident in each location (so from 5 to 9 incidents) and the player with the highest total value on their shame cards loses.
The game mechanics are quite unique so I need to explain them. In each incident someone has farted and players take turns asking each other who did it. To start, players are dealt 5 smell cards which make up their hand. On a player’s turn (let’s say Player A), they turn to their neighbour (Player B) and ask if they farted. If B says yes, then B takes the shame for the fart right away and receives all the current shame cards and that incident ends. If B says they didn’t fart, player A takes a random smell card from B’s hand and lays it in front of B. Smell cards have a value on them and most have special actions too, such as swap a laid down smell card with an opponent, etc.
If all players deny farting then an extra shame card is added and the players go round asking each other in turn again. If no-one has taken the shame after 3 rounds, each player will each have 3 smell cards in front of them as well as 2 still in hand. The person who has the highest total smell including cards in their hand will be the guilty party and receive all the shame cards. However, before the smell totals are revealed players simultaneously point at the person they think is the guilty person. Then, the smell totals are revealed and the guilty person takes all the shame cards plus 1 extra shame card for each person that pointed at them. (People that point at non-guilty players take a shame card too.)
So, why would a player willingly accept the shame? Well, a player may do this if they think they’re going to lose the incident anyway and want to take the shame early rather than risk even greater shame if they lose the incident later.
Overall, Prrrt is a very funny idea. The artwork stands out like Mow did too for its bright colours and simple, sketchy style. The gameplay is very unusual as players don’t really take any actions and purely make the decision whether to bail out on their turn or risk going further. So, it’s primarily a push-your-luck game.
Smell cards’ special actions can do a few things such as change the smell cards owned (sometimes exchanging ones already laid down with an opponent’s, sometimes exchanging those still in your hands). Other cards can sometimes give one or more of your shame cards to an opponent, and one card is a high-value smell but means you discard all remaining smsell cards in your hand. So, the cards you are dealt at the start of an incident may change a great deal during each round and not be the ones you end with. Therefore, as well as working out if other players have a higher total than you, you need to consider whether the actions on the cards in your hand will change your situation (although you must remember you have no control over which will get played).
As a result, Prrrt has a lot of luck built into it and not much player control. Not being able to choose which cards get played means there’s no way to play tactically and some players won’t like that. For me, I would have liked to have had more control over which cards get played from my hand so I could use the actions more precisely, plus I could use the card values to bluff a bit too. However, this would make it a different game and the card actions would need to be a bit different for that to work, i.e. look at a players hand, etc.
One thing I have to mention is the box as it makes a farting noise (via an electronic device – not just a close-fitting lid) when opened. This is cool and a nice surprise as it would have been so easy for the publisher not to add that in order to save costs. So, kudos goes to Hurrican for adding that.
In conclusion, Prrrt is a very light and simple game. There’s not a lot for the players to decide upon, apart from whether they should take the hit or risk continuing (and who they use the special card actions on), so players just need to keep assessing things as cards can move around a lot during each round. However, with the right group of players, Prrrt can be a very funny and light-hearted game where the interaction, bluffing and humorous screwage delivers a fun experience. (Especially if like my group one player insists that a different term for farting must be used every time a player asks ‘Have you farted?’ Who knew he knew so many different terms for it?) So, I prefer Mow as a game but Prrrt is certainly different to anything else I’ve played and fun if you’re not looking for anything serious.
[Played with 3 and 5 players]
Note: Swissgames kindly provided me with a review copy of this game.