Love Letter - Board Game Box Shot

Love Letter

| Published: 2012
Love Letter card game

In the wake of the queen’s arrest, all the eligible young men of Tempest (and many not so young) seek to woo Princess Annette. Unfortunately, she has locked herself in the palace, and everyone must rely on those within the palace to bring their romantic letters to her. Will yours reach her first?

Love Letter is a game of risk, deduction, and luck, for 2–4 players. Get your love letter into Princess Annette’s hands while keeping other players’ letters away. Powerful cards lead to early gains, but make you a target. Rely on weaker cards for too long and your letter may be tossed in the fire!

Tempest game series

Part of the Tempest series of shared-world games.
See all Tempest series games >

User Reviews (29)

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7
Gamer - Level 7
Guardian Angel
I'm a Gamin' Fiend!
8
41 of 42 gamers found this helpful
“Fun, portable, and inexpensive 'in-between' game”

INTRO

I picked up Love Letter at the suggestion of my friendly local game store owner. He assured me that despite the fact it came in a velvet pouch and featured princesses that it was a fun game. It didn’t hurt that it’s extremely portable and very inexpensive to boot.

GAMEPLAY

Love Letter is a game of elimination, played in several rounds. You play suitors trying to get your eponymous “love letter” to the Princess before the other players. You do this with 16 cards that represent different people in the royal court. Each person has a special ability and an influence score. The higher the influence, the closer that person is to the Princess. (The Princess herself is a card too – with the highest score in the game.)

Everyone is dealt one card to start each round. On your turn you draw another card, and then discard one of them face-up in front of you. Generally speaking, you want to discard the lower numbered person and keep the higher because whoever has the highest influence at the end of the round wins a token. There’s a different number of tokens required to win depending on the number of players.

I say “generally speaking” because there’s actually a lot of strategy to this game. Sometimes you don’t want to discard the lower card because it would tip off people at the table that you have something higher. There are only a certain number of each type of person in the deck, and everyone gets a little reference card telling them how many along with the special abilities of each card.

For instance, if you discard the Countess (influence 7) then the rest of the table knows you have one of three people – the King, the Prince or the Princess herself. The Countess can’t be caught with the King or Prince (a cute mechanic) so you have to discard her, and if you’re the Princess you must discard your other card or lose the round. This lets the other players guess your person and possibly knock you out.

Playing a Guard card let you guess who other players have in their hand. They’re the easiest way to knock someone out. You can theoretically play these and make a wild guess to win. They’re the lowest scoring card in the game, so it’s always best to play them.

There are a number of ways to win and lose a round. If another player guesses the card in your hand, or wins a “compare hands” card check, you’re out. The round continues until all but one player is eliminated or you run out of cards. In the latter case, whoever has the highest influence card wins.

BUILD QUALITY

The game has decent quality cards, and the velvet pouch has held up to a lot of abuse from being thrown into bags, boxes, or whatever I had handy. It’s a very portable game. I sleeved the cards for my deck just for added durability. My only real complaint about the components are the “tokens of affection,” which are really just tiny red wooden cubes. Everything else in the game matches the theme quite nicely, but these just seemed too abstract. I’ll likely replace them with tiny hearts or something more representative in the future.

FUN FACTOR

Considering this a game about love and court intrigue, I didn’t expect to like it. I’ve played it several times with different groups (including all men, and a night with my parents) and it went over well with everyone so far…once they played a hand or two. The mechanics are quick to pick up and there’s plenty of room for back-stabbing and competitive play.

I got my copy for about ten bucks, so the return on investment was great. This isn’t a particularly deep game, but it does make a great pick-up-and-go romp on trips or in between other longer games.

 
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9
I play blue
Football Fan
USA
Advanced Reviewer
8
83 of 86 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 2
“What Do You Mean She Won’t See Me? Please Give Her This…”

What Is It About? – An Overview of the Game
The princess has secluded herself in grief. Suitors attempt to woe her with love letters. Those closest to the princess will attempt to pass along these letters.

In this quick game from Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG), 2-4 players take on the role of the potential suitors. They play the royal courtesan cards by bluffing, deducing, and gambling their way into the princess’ favor. Play lasts over several rounds until one player finally breaks the princess free from her emotional prison.

What Do I Get? – The Components in the Box
The game includes a deck of 20 cards (including 4 reference cards), 13 wooden cubes, a very small rule booklet, and a nice velvet drawstring bag to store it in. Unfortunately, the cards are a bit thin with reports of a bad batch that are delaminating or otherwise getting marked up. Be sure to sleeve these right away or contact AEG for a replacement deck.

What Do I Do? – Playing the Game
Game play is very simple. The deck is shuffled with the top card set aside unseen (a total of 4 cards are set aside in the 2-player game). Each player is dealt one of the remaining cards, which they keep hidden from the others. On their turn, a player draws a 2nd card and then must play one of their 2 cards in front of them while resolving the effect. Play passes to the left until only one player remains or the deck of cards is exhausted. The winner of each round takes a token of appreciation. Rounds are played until one person collects enough tokens to win (7 in a 2-player, 5 in 3-player, or 4 in a 4-player).

The intrigue comes from the effects of the cards. The goal is to eliminate the other players or at least hang on until the cards run out. Cards are numbered 1-8 with 8 being the most “powerful” Princess. The lowly Guard, at value 1, has 5 copies. But she has one of the most powerful effects being able to knock out any player, as long as she can guess the card that a single player is holding. You try to take an educated guess based on what cards have been played (discards are always visible), how players have previously played, or by using the power of other cards in previous rounds, such as the Priest (a ‘2’) who can look at any player’s card.

The higher valued cards usually don’t do as much in their effect. The Princess knocks you out of the round if you are ever forced to discard her. The Countess at ‘7’ is the second highest (as the princess’ best friend) but the only effect is she must be discarded if she “sees” the King or one of two Princes. She is forced out in the open if you hold either the ‘6’ or ‘5’ respectively.

The reason you want to hang on to the high cards is that if more than one player remains once the deck is depleted, the person with the highest card wins that round, being closest to the Princess. The Baron, at value 3, can also be played to compare two players straight up, with the lowest getting eliminated. So here the Princess-Baron combo can knock out any player.

What Do I Think? – Final Thoughts
This is a delightful little game as intriguing as it is simple. Rounds are quick and the overall game is very fast as well. There is the right mix of bluffing while logically trying to figure out what others might have. A decent balance of rock-paper-scissor is here as well: high cards are great to have but do a little less for you during the game while low cards are more effective but can get knocked out easier.

The art is wonderful and the theme seems deep enough for such a light game. It is highly portable in its little pouch. It is quick to teach and quicker to play. This is something that works as a nice filler, an early starter to get people thinking, or a decent night cap to close out the night. The price is right to make this a must have in any collection.

As mentioned, the only negative is to get these cards sleeved. Any mark on the back of such a small deck will definitely ruin the experience.

What Next? – Other Recommendations for this Game
This game reminded me of a lighter, faster Citadels. The art is similar with its medieval theme. The cards are of course numbered and have varying abilities. What you don’t have is the main goal of collecting gold to build buildings and the potentially drawn out end game. But for those looking for a little more depth, Citadels seems the next logical step.

In addition, AEG is pushing this Tempest setting. The games share nothing more than the characters, I believe. But the short little back story and character development they set up here makes me want to take a look at what else they are putting in this universe. The other games are Courtier, Dominare, and Mercante.

 
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5
Advanced Grader
Plaid Hat Games fan
8
48 of 50 gamers found this helpful
“Love's a deadly game”

First thing to say about this game is that it’s small. A handful of cards and some small wooden blocks in a delightfully tactile velvet bag (just me?) is all you get. But then what do you expect for so little?

Don’t be fooled though, oh no, this game packs a large amount of fun into that velvet bag.

The cards are numbered 1 to 8, eight being the most valuable – princess card and one being the lowest ‘guard’ card. At the end of the round if there are more than one of you left whoever has the highest value card wins.

The mechanic is very simple, everyone gets a card, then in turn you take one from the deck. You then play face up one of the two cards in your hand and follow its effect.

The aim of the game is to work out what type of card other people are holding, guard cards then allow you to call them out and knock them out of the round. If there is a more satisfying mechanic in a game i am yet to find it. “You have a priest” you claim hopefully. You watch as their face falls and they curse you whilst throwing their card face up on the table. Joy.

Beacuse there are a fixed number of each card in the game and everyone has a list you just need to use your powers of deduction to work out what hasn’t yet been played. Several cards help you check other peoples cards, swap with them or go head to head to see who has the higher value.

Its a fast, enjoyable game. One of my favourite four player game night openers.

 
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6
US Army Service
I play green
8
88 of 92 gamers found this helpful
“16 card Deck makes for a wonderful game.”

Overview
In Japan there is a fascination for pocket sized games that usually consist of a small deck of cards and possibly some tokens. Love Letter came onto the scene at the Japan Game Market Trade shows and won the Popularity Vote there for New Game with a 4.2 out of 5. It was published by Kanai Factory in Japan and has spread through out the world. In the United States it is released by AEG aka Alderac Entertainment Group.

Love Letter Plays 2-4 Players in about 20 min.

Components
-16 cards
-Wooden Cubes
-Storage Bag (depends on the edition)

These components are above medium quality.

Gameplay
The cards are shuffled with one taken out of play with out being revealed to anyone.

Players take turns to try and get their letter of love to the princess. This means either getting as high a number card in hand as possible, or eliminating all the other players or High Card in case of a tie. On a turn, draw 1 card and play 1 card (So out of turn each player has 1 card), with each card having a special ability, such as looking at another players card, or swapping with another player, etc. The first to win X rounds (X depends on #players) er…gets to be with the princess I guess.

Pros
-Decent Components
-Quick Gameplay makes it a nice filler game and doesn’t keep eliminated players from having nothing to do for a while.
-Easy to teach/learn
-Usually a pretty cheap game

Cons
-The bag can be a bit irritating for storage and put the components at risk quite easily. (Again depends on edition, some actually have a nice box in addition to the bag.)
-Not a game to play a bunch of times back to back and definitely not a main event type of game for a gaming day.

Conclusion/Thoughts
Love Letter is a game that people should think about adding to their collection for having for a filler or just a quick sit down and play. Its not much fun with just two people, but really shines when you get the full four players.

There are other versions of Love Letter out there. By that I mean just a themeing thing ranging from Samurai to a High School theme. This is varied by country and which company is releasing it.

 
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8
Professional Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
7
41 of 43 gamers found this helpful
“A lot of game for such a small package!”

Overview
In Love Letter, players take on the role of potential suitors for Princess Annette and vie for her hand by trying to get your love letters to her. Whoever receives the most “love” tokens from the princess, wins the game. It may sound a little corny, but there is quite a lot of game in this little package. So, don’t let the theme fool you.

Pros
Plays fast
Easy to learn (hard to master)
Inexpensive

Cons
Cards are a little flimsy (it’s cheap)
More luck involved with just two players

Gameplay
Love letter has a few simple rules where each player starts with one card, draws a card on their turn, and then plays a card on their turn. Each of the 16 cards has “special” abilities. The round ends when all the cards are drawn from the deck. The goal of each round is to either knock everyone out and be the last one standing or have a card with the highest rank at the end of the round. The winner of the round receives a “love” token from the princess, because she received your letter. The person with the most tokens wins the games.

Sounds complicated right? You might think that this isn’t much of a game, but the meat of the game is in the card play. Since there’s only sixteen cards and a reference cards showing you how many of each card is in the deck, this game turns into a deduction and bluffing game based on what you have in your hand. For instance, the countess card must be discarded if you have a king or prince card in hand. However, you can still discard the countess which is the second highest card in the game, to trick people into thinking you have the king or prince even if you don’t. A lot of luck can also come into the game by using the guards to “accuse” or guess what card a player has and knock them out. Quite a few games have been lost on a lucky guess. It makes for a lot of tension.

Conclusion
The game makes a extremely nice filler. It is quick and easy, yet has enough meat on it’s bones to make it worthwhile. It’s certainly not my favorite game, but I certainly will play it if it comes out on the table or someone requests it.

I only have a few of issues with the game. Since the theme is about love and romance, I personally would prefer to play it with older kids in the family. But the theme really isn’t that strongly connected to the game. Also, it definitely plays different with two players compared to more than two. Seems like there’s more luck involved with two players, because lucky guesses using a guard can knock someone out quick. Finally, the cards a really cheap quality, but it really is an inexpensive game.

Overall, Love Letter is really an interesting little game for a change of pace between heavy game sessions. If you run a game group, you should really look into adding this to your collection.

Gamer Recommendations
Family Gamer: YES with older kids, good way to teach probabilities and card counting
Social Gamer: YES this is very social
Casual Gamer: YES easy to learn
Strategy Gamer: NO run away
Avid Gamer: YES brings a new experience
Power Gamer:NO not deep enough

 
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6
Intermediate Reviewer
Canada
I play black
Bronze Supporter
8
34 of 36 gamers found this helpful
“Loads of filler fun in the world of renaissance intrigue”

This game is the most fun you will have with a simple pack of 16 cards. The Japanese designer Seiji Kanai realizes a simple yet beautifully compact game model here that pits 2-4 players against each other in a race to obtain the favour of a princess by manipulating your way to get a court member to pass your love letter to her.

The deck consists of eight different types of cards each with a value and unique effect. Each player starts with a card and every turn they will pick a card and play one from their hand, leaving them again with one. Card effects are varied and either provide information about other player’s (or even your) hands or can force others out of the round by deduction or gambling. The player who remains until the end of the round with the highest value card wins.

It doesn’t sound like much, but I have found it to be extremely engaging and interesting. The game goes very fast and always makes you think. There is a certain amount of luck involved, but a mix of smarts and good timing is required for success. For a game that is over within about 20 min – it offers a great deal of excitement and depth. Because the rounds are so short all players feel involved as downtime is not a factor even with player elimination.

Best of all all this is realized in a tiny package (comes in a snazzy felt pouch no less!) that is great for travel and is extremely affordable (get more than one to be able to expand the number of players beyond the original 4). The theme is beautifully rendered and card effects are fitting to the roles they represent.

I recommend this game as a high-quality filler – a significant improvement over games like Dungeon Siege or Agent Hunter. The worlds of intrigue await – go ahead and woo the princess!

 
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6
Brazil
Game Developerz fan
The Gold Heart
7
41 of 44 gamers found this helpful
“A shortcut to fun. But don't expect much!”

Love Letters was one of the most “successful” games of 2013. But that may work in its favor and also against it. Where does all this hype come from? And how much of it is actually real? Cards on the table, we’re about to find out!

CONCEPT AND BASIC MECHANICS
First of all, I need to highlight the simplicity of Love Letters (LL). We are talking about a deck of 16 cards AND THAT’S ALL! This simplicity is the key of the game, LL can be learned in 5 minutes and played in 15 or less. It doesn’t require too much thinking and it’s mostly about luck. But the game itself is pretty fun and frustration-proof.

The objective of each round is to “kill” all your opponents or be the one with the most valuable card at the end of the round. You get a point for each round you win and the person who scores 3/5/7 whatever points wins the game.

You will always have one card in your hand, and to use it, you must first draw a new card and then discard one of your choice. That way, in order to kill someone, you need to use your card’s special ability by discarding it. For example if you discard a Guard card, you may try to guess someone else’s card, if you manage to do it that person is dead. Other cards may let you look at a opponent’s hand, or force someone to discard his card and draw a new one, or trade hands, and many more. Card’s values goes from 1 to 8, and the cards with higher value don’t have as much utility as the ones with lower value.

THEME
The theme in LL is quite useless. This whole thing of you sending love letters to a princess has absolutely no connection with the mechanics of the game. EVERYONE I played this game with asked at some point “what all of this have to do with the theme?”. So don’t pick this game for its theme, it’s just a cute make-up for a card game.

CONCLUSION
I can assure you that LL is a fun-luck-bluff-quick-easy-light game. But it’s not innovative and it doesn’t have great replay value. In fact, usually when people finish a game of LL, they instantly start looking for some other game.

Now let me be fair here, LL gives you 15 minutes of fun and laughs, we can’t ask 16 cards to be more than that right?

So all the hype is actually real. This game has a good price, it’s portable, it’s fun and anyone can play this! LL deserves to be played by any gamer out there. Just remember that this is only a filler game, we are not talking about something that will change your life.

PROS
- Easy
- Cheap price
- Portable
- Fun
- Quick, no downtime, no analysis paralysis

CONS
- No replay value
- Theme is pretty much useless
- Will never be the main game of the night

 
Player Avatar
7
United Kingdom
Advanced Reviewer
Knight-errant
Tinkerer
8
52 of 56 gamers found this helpful
“A lot of play in a very small package”

I’ll come straight out and say it right away: I love this game. It’s definitely a light-weight filler, and there are all manner of itches that it doesn’t scratch, but it’s not trying to be anything that it isn’t.

So what is Love Letter? As others have already explained, it is a card game of bluffing, guesswork and deduction (with quite a lot of luck), where there are just 16 cards in the game, of which you hold one in your hand, drawing a second card on your turn and choosing one to play and one to keep. Card effects can knock other players out of the round (if you play them at the right time on the right person) and if you get to the end of the end of the stack of cards and you are holding the highest value card (or you are the last player in the round) you win a point. Then you do it all again until someone has enough points to win. Simple.

Each hand can take anything from a few seconds to around two or three minutes to play if you have new or particularly thoughtful players. To be honest I don’t think there is that much to think about once you have internalised the numbers of the different types of card, I think the game is probably best played quickly and instinctively. That said, I’ve played with some folk who treat the game with poker-like seriousness, analysing every movement of their opponents for clues.

As far as the time to play an entire game is concerned, we’ve had two-player games completed inside of 10 minutes, and one big four-player game took us about 45 minutes. Most I’ve played have been inside half an hour though.

As for the theme, it works well. The art is nice and you can imagine the characters busying themselves with courtly intrigues. But really this is just a nice touch of gloss on a simple and slick game that can be taught in a minute or two.

I have only owned Love Letter for a few weeks, but have played it quite a few times in assorted company, including with my six-year-old daughter (who absolutely loves it and is getting pretty good at it) and a group of hardened gamers at work, who had a great time. Everyone I have played it with has loved it, and some have gone off to buy their own copy.

When it comes down to it, Love Letter is almost perfect for what it is: a fast, quick, fun and replayable game which is great for almost all company. But I won’t be building a gaming evening around it, driving to another town to get a play in, or spending hours pondering strategies. That said, it doesn’t try to be that sort of thing. It’s easily portable, looks great, plays beautifully and is a bargain price. I’m regretting only scoring it as an 8.

 
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7
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Intermediate Reviewer
Strategist
Paladin
8
71 of 78 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“My baby wrote me a letter”

Love Letter is a game of deduction and misdirection, played with a very small number of moving parts. The original version is thematically linked to AEG’s Tempest line of games, but the game has proven popular enough to be re-released in multiple “skinned” versions, including an English release with the original Japanese art (the “Kanai Factory Limited Edition”), one based on AEG’s long-running Legend of the Five Rings franchise, and a Munchkin-themed version (appropriately enough, called Loot Letter).

The gameplay is very simple. The deck of 16 cards is shuffled and one card is set aside (or four cards in a two-player game), face-down. Each player is dealt one card. On their turn, they draw a card, and play a card. The goal is to be the last suitor standing, representing the successful delivery of your love letter to the Princess’ hands. For each round a player wins, they gain a red cube to represent a token of the Princess’ favor. Gameplay continues until one player has gained an agreed upon number of Favor tokens (often four), or until the group is ready to move on to something else.

The strategy of the game lies in correctly deducing the cards which other players hold, and using the options available to you to capitalize on that knowledge. Since there is always at least one card sitting out the game, knowledge can never be perfect — while the reference cards tell you how many of each type of card are in the deck, you will almost never know exactly what’s still “in play”. The most common card, Guard (value 1), lets you name a card and target a player; if they are holding that card, they are eliminated. Other cards protect you for the turn (to let your rivals eliminate each other), swap hands with someone else (to leave an opponent holding an unfortunate liability), or even cause instant elimination if they’re discarded (the Princess herself, at the highest value of 8).

A player wins once all of their rivals have been eliminated, or if there are no cards left to draw — at which point the player holding the highest value card is the winner. With the various abilities and varying numbers, it is important to keep track of what’s been played by everyone. Even though there is a decent amount of straightforward gameplay, a well-timed bluff can make the difference between winning or losing a given round.

With a very small number of cards (including reference cards) plus a handful of cubes, the game can easily be packed into any gamer’s bag as a quick, fun way to pass 15-20 minutes of downtime during a typical gaming day. It may seem simple from the outside, but this little game is one of the best and quickest deduction games on the market. Anyone who enjoys a quick and casual game will enjoy this; it is also very family-friendly. While the basic game is geared around winning the favor of the Princess, the Kanai Factory version includes alternate cards for the slot, including a Prince, if that is more to your liking.

Pros:
Extremely portable
Very quick (15-20 min) play time
Easy to teach
Strong replayability as a deductive game
Not much downtime even with player elimination
Family friendly
Multiple themed versions available

Cons:
Only works with two to four players (though variations for more players can be found online)

 
Player Avatar
6
Canada
Novice Reviewer
10
57 of 63 gamers found this helpful
“Also a game for men! No I'm not kidding.”

Oh Love Letter, how I hate your name. I had heard for months from a guy that I work with that I needed to pick up this game. When he told me the title and explained the theme, I assumed that he had checked out mentally and wondered what he thought was I was really like. I’m not really the type for games about delivering love letters to a Princess. After months of pestering me, he finally issued a challenge “Buy this game, play it with your family. If you don’t like it, I’ll buy it off you.”

Challenge accepted. Since I have 2 daughters at home, I thought that they may be more in line with this obviously feminine theme, and for $8 I knew I couldn’t lose. Once we got this home and played through a few rounds I realized something that I think will become apparent in the rest of the review…..

Gameplay
This game is VERY simple and can be learned in minutes and taught in seconds. Despite the fact that the game is simple, gameplay is very engaging and player interaction is the heart of this game. Players only possess a single card in their hand until it is their turn. At that time they draw a single card and must play one of these 2 cards and carry out the cards action. Its really that simple.

Artwork/Components
The card art is very nice. The cards themselves are the standard 2.5 x 3.5″ player cards. I highly recommend buying a quality sleeve for these 16 cards as they will be shuffled continuously and will likely show wear in short order. The came came in a plush velvet game with golden lettering and 13 red cubes that are used as counters. While the bag is convenient, it certainly does an outstanding job at convincing male players to “stay out”. I don’t care for wooden cubes and have therefore replaced the cube counters with coins, but thats just a personal preference as the cubes work fine.

Overall Impression
This is a FANTASTIC game. My family loves it, I love it, everyone I introduce this game to loves it! We bring it with us when we go to resteraunts, coffee, or the doctors office. The game plays very quickly and can litteraly be played anywhere. The theme of the game is almost non-existent and I suspect that if this game was released as something skinned as a dungeon crawler or a wargame guys like me would have been onto this game from the start. Excellent game. You will not be disappointed.

 
Player Avatar
5
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
9
79 of 89 gamers found this helpful
“Not just a one night stand.”

Love Letter. Originally released back in the bygone days of 2012 has subsequently been republished several times with a variety of different art and themes. Whatever version you settle on they all all have one thing in common, a small very portable and brilliant game.

So straight out the gate shock number one. This game is only played with 16 cards, yep you heard me just 16. And if you are thinking well what sort of game is that? Just hold on. When I first picked this up I was met with the same sneers of divisiveness from my group, and I have to admit to being a bit skeptical myself. There was the small pool of cards and it was a game called Love Letter! And to make matters worse it came in a red satin bag and had princesses and princes in it, and things didn’t get any better when I explained the story.

You play some frisky member of the royal court trying to sneak your grubby little ode to true love to the nubile princess and so win her heart, frankly I don’t understand why you can’t just tweet her.

OK, so all flowery fonts and misplaced tragic love aside, at its core Love Letter is a bluffing and push your luck game. Each player’s dealt one card. On your turn you take another card decide which one you want to discard, once you do its played face up in front of you and you apply its effects.

What adds the whiz and pop to proceedings is those card powers at a glance they all seem rather simplistic. There are a variety of these, Guards for instance allow you to choose a player and name a card and if an opponent is holding it then they are out of the game and don’t get any special princess time. There are also a couple of Handmaid cards which are great because if you play one it protects you for that round, giving you a moments peace to speculate on the inhumanity of man to man, and watch it in action as the others at the table do unmentionable things to one another.

Or maybe the King that will allow you to trade hands with another player, which can also backfire hideously if you land yourself a great card and the player to your right gets an inkling. And then hits you with a Guard.

And so it continues until either only one player is left standing, or the deck runs dry. In the event of that happening then whoever is holding the highest ranked card wins, if its tied then its whoever discarded the highest value of cards. Taken out of context the card powers don’t appear as anything particular special or challenging but once added to the whole some powerful alchemy happens.

The strategy behind this simple little game materializes after you’ve played a couple of times. When you are comfortable with what each card does you can then start playing the meta game. As an example the Countess at first glance whilst the second most powerful card is nobbled with the fact you must discard her if caught with either the King or Prince in your hand, well that’s fine but what if you junk her when you don’t? And its not just your cards, we started to formulate tactics based on our opponents play style and hands they always seem to have. A favorite at my table is on the first round if you start with a guard is to seek out the Handmaids (a power card in the early rounds) if you can bag one you can take out a player early and avoid them safely sitting out a round. And most importantly annoy them because they smugly thought they where about to be immune. And for some reason its always poor old Bob gets picked on because he always has a handmaid, I’m not sure on the miss to hit ratio on this strategy, but its always satisfying when we do catch him with one (its his own fault constantly turtling under their protective shield).

Considering the most cards you ever hold in your hand at one time is two, there is a insane amount of strategy going on here, hitting a great two card combo of say a Priest (look at a hand) and then a Bishop (compare hands loser goes out) offers tantalizing possibilities, take a look and if your opponent is holding a low card you know you are in a power position to maybe take them out next round, you just have to pray the next card you ****** from the deck trumps theirs. Well that is unless they counter with a hand swap or unlucky for you pick up a more powerful card. And of course if you do take them out successfully then you will be announcing to the table you have one of the rarer top tier cards, and then make yourself a target in the process.

Seniji Kanai the games designer is a genius, a sort of micro-game-surgeon. How he managed to combine so much deep strategy and bluff and counter bluff in such a tiny tiny game still boggles my brain. The hints where there in 2009’s Chronicle a trick taking game twisted the rules with some clever card powers (well worth a look).

Not that this is one of those one night stands, no this will be a brief romance all fluttering heart beats and sweaty hands followed by a long loving relationship filled with sappy montages and happy memories. (i’m not referring to Bob).

 
Player Avatar
4
Indie Board & Cards fan
8
38 of 43 gamers found this helpful
“Play on playa...”

The Princess Annette of Tempest is a bit of a tease. She’ll string along 2-4 suitors till she finds the perfect match to court her hand.

Love Letter is exactly the kind of game I enjoy. It’s fast and easy to pick up. Deceptively simple yet gives way to layers of complexity after repeated play throughs.

The story begins with the young princess sequestering herself in the palace as she deals with the grief of her mother’s arrest for high treason. Being the insensitive opportunist that you are, the game hinges on you winning her affection during this troubling time through a series of ‘love letters’. The only way to safely get her these letters is to entrust them into the hands of those closest to her.

Each player starts with a card then draws a card to open their turn. Your turn concludes with you discarding one of them face up in front of you. The couriers represented on your cards will each have a specific effect that activates once the card is placed down. Some of these effects work against your interests. Some allow you to use them against other players. Others will protect you from future effects cast down by competing suitors. Holding the highest ranked card at the end of each round will ensure your letter makes it way to the princess. Win enough rounds, and you get an invitation to the palace. You sly dog you.

It’s a lot of fun. The theme is a wonderful change of pace and makes for great filler on a night of gaming. It’s also great to break out with your non-gaming friends.

 
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4
BoardGaming.com Beta 2.0 Tester
10
63 of 72 gamers found this helpful
“My Letter to the princess!”

There are very few games, you can pick up and teach to anyone in a span of 10 minutes, well Love Letters is one of those games. It comes in a small velvet pouch and has 16 cards along with 13 square wood cubes.

The Object of the game is to be the last person standing in order to pass your courtship letter to the princess, sounds boring? Not at all, the amount of fun this small game packs is amazing, I’ve not had a game where everyone is not right into it.

The game is best played with four players, however you can play with 2 or 3, game play starts with everyone receiving a single card and the dealer burns a card by putting it into the velvet bag, the first player after the dealer then draws a card, and plays one of the two cards then follow the instructions on that card. Play continues until one player is left or the draw pile is depleted, if the draw pile becomes depleted then the player with the highest valued card wins. Do this 4 times in a four player game and you’re the winner.

You’re trying to knock out the other players by guessing or forcing them to discard their cards, careful though they have the same goal.

The Cards are as follows.

Princess value 8 number of cards 1 (discard and you are out)

Countess value 7 number of cards 1 (discard if she is caught with the king or the prince)

King value 6 number of cards 1 (trade hands with another player)

Prince value 5 number of cards 2 (Force a player to discard then draw another card, If the card wasn’t the princess)

Hand Maiden value 4 number of cards 2 (You cannot be targeted by other players until your next turn)

Baron value 3 number of cards 2 (compare hands with another player the lowest card is discard and that player is out)

Priest value 2 number of cards 2 (Peak at another players card)

Guard value 1 Number of cards 5 (chose a player and call out a card if the player has that card they discard and are out, the card cannot be Guard.)

As you play cards you place them in front of you so everyone can see what cards have been played, this seems like it would make the game to easy however you have to keep in mind that one card was burned, so there is some strategy on how you play.

All and all this is a great little game that you can take with you. I’d recommended you pick up a copy at your local game store.

 
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3
Advocate
8
29 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“A game that won my favor.”

Pros: Quick playability. Just as good with 2, 3, or 4 players. Card skills are printed on cards and are simplistic enough to understand after a few plays. They did a great job with the art on the cards.

Cons: Fallen behind syndrome. If you get 3 or 4 favors behind it gets extremely difficult to come back from that especially in a 4 player game. Not a fan of the block favors (however for a $10 value it’s what should be expected).

Tips: Discard high cards early and steal the round with the Guard. Discard the Countess as to throw other players off your trail. Don’t be afraid to use that Prince on yourself to gain more knowledge of the cards left in the deck.

Overall: Love Letter really fits a niche and owns that niche. Filler games with lots of luck , strategy, and fun. You may go to this game more than any other when you only have a short time before moving on to something else because it’s so good. And for the price almost everyone should own this game. Each game is different because you never know what you’ll draw. Your strategies can always change from game to game because there is more than one way to approach most cards’ skill. You’ll have your ups and downs when playing this game and at times feel like you can’t figure out the right strategy for that game. But don’t give up, because nothing is better than a Princess talking about you the next morning at breakfast.

 
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8
Intermediate Reviewer
Vanguard
Tinkerer
Novice Advisor
8
42 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“1 part deduction, 1 part obfuscating, 3 parts luck...”

This game was on my to-buy list as soon as I heard about it (I even made a copy myself that I never had the time to try out before I could buy the real game), and I was not disappointed.

The game itself is very simple, only 16 cards, each with a role and value from 1 (guards) to 8 (the princess herself). Each round all players try to deliver their love letter to the princess, but she will only accept one letter, so in the end of the round you must have the most valuable card in your hand. Of course you could also have kicked out all the competition beforehand (in fact, most rounds end that way).

You have one card in your hand and when it’s your turn you take another one. You must now chose which card that will hold on to your letter, and which card to play. You play a card by discarding it in front of you, and each card have a different effect. Priests let you peek on a another players card, the King let you trade hand with another player etc. By studying the actions of the other players it is possible to make decent guesses of what they might have and act accordingly.

Now, quite often luck is the biggest factor. Some rounds you are out before you had the chance to do anything, and sometimes you find yourself with two cards that simply suck. That’s life, fortunately each round is resolved in just a few minutes. Depending on the number of players you need to deliver a number of letters to the princess in order to win the game.

All in all this is a quick and fun game, and most people (excluding my wife…) found it refreshing. I think you should try it out!

And for the record, all my letters to the princess starts with “Come on… you want to, huh?”. Somehow it doesn’t seem to work so well…

 

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