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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 (43)

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US Army Service
I play green
116 of 123 gamers found this helpful
“16 card Deck makes for a wonderful game.”

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.

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

These components are above medium quality.

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.

-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

-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.

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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Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Advanced Reviewer
Guardian Angel
105 of 112 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.

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

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

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I play blue
Football Fan
Advanced Reviewer
96 of 103 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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Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
oddball Aeronauts fan
105 of 115 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).

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Advanced Reviewer
Rosetta Stone
77 of 85 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…..

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.

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.

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United Kingdom
Advanced Reviewer
64 of 71 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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Intermediate Reviewer
Novice Advisor
61 of 68 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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Book Lover
61 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“To My Dearest Annette”

In the game Love Letter, each player is a suitor who is trying to woo the heart of Princess Annette. After her mother’s arrest, being filled with pain and grief, she locks herself within the palace walls. Each night (round) she will receive a letter from a suitor. The more letters that she receives from you, the more she’ll be captivated by your words, as you will then win her heart.

Love Letter is a fast and easy game that contains only 16 cards (which makes it super easy to shuffle after each round). Each card has their own special affect that can either help or hurt you. The object of the game is to remain at the end of each round. To do so, you would try to knock your opponents out before they knock you. If more than one person remains after each round (when there’s no more cards to draw) then the person who has the highest ranking number on their card will win the affection of Princess Annette.

Overall, this is a very simple game to pick up and learn. I think the artwork is very well done. I’ve only played this game with one other person and am not to sure how it plays out with three or four, but I’m sure that it’s much better. I highly recommend sleeving up your cards as you and your friends will be playing multiple rounds and games. Not that the quality of the cards are bad (by the way, I love the quality of the box that it comes in!), but just in case you like your cards nice and clean and scuff mark free. Plus, since this is a bluffing and deduction game, you don’t want your opponents to know what card(s) you have in your hand base upon the scuff marks.

Try it out and see if you can win the heart of Princess Annette.

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United Kingdom
Gamer - Level 5
61 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“The Best Filler Game I've Played”

This is a short, transportable, cheap game. Being such a “filler game” I would rate this slightly differently to a heavier game.

So what do you want from a filler game?

– Quick to play
– Light enough to be a fun break from other games
– Interactive a social
– Easy to play with non-gamers as an introduction
– Compact and transportable so you can play it on the go
– Enough strategy to make you feel you are playing the game rather than just following the turn of cards
– Inexpensive

Love letter has all of this. If there is a better filler game out there I haven’t played it and, to be honest, can’t imagine what it would be.

There are 16 cards in the deck each of which has a value and represents a character at the court of Tempest. You want to end a round holding the highest value card as then your love letter will reach the princess first. There are 13 red wooden cubes representing a successful delivery and the first player to the winning number of these (for 2 players its 7) has delivered enough letters first to the princess to win her affections.

The cards each have a power on them which normally applies if you discard that card. And as a player’s turn is pick up a card and then discard a card and follow the text of that power, this happens fast and furious!

Most of the powers involve interaction with your other players, allowing you to look at another player’s card for example or knocking a player out of the game if you hold a higher card than them (which can also knock you out!), meaning its a great social experience.

Definite buy.

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I play red
The Gold Heart
60 of 67 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!

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.

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.

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.

– Easy
– Cheap price
– Portable
– Fun
– Quick, no downtime, no analysis paralysis

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

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Professional Reviewer
I play black
Silver Supporter
60 of 67 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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Gamer - Level 3
60 of 67 gamers found this helpful
“Take-that letter - the 16 cards of in-your-face”

If you have any faint notion of how “Love” Letter works, you know the title is a lie. The game crams, in 16 cards and 2 choices per turn, an immense amount of game *and* “take-that!” moments unlike any other.

(+) The game is pleasantly simple to teach and pick up. Love Letter is played in rounds, and each round players start with 1 card. The remaining cards form the draw deck, minus 1 card taken out at random to provide statistical suspense. On their turn players draw 1 card, then choose which of the 2 to keep; the other is discarded. The discarded card’s effects then trigger, and after resolving it play resumes to the next person still alive.

Players win a round either by eliminating every other player before the deck runs out, or by having the highest-numbered card among all players still alive when the deck does run out. The first player to win a given number of rounds (varies with player count) wins the overall game.

As you can see the rules are plain simple, and all actual “game meat” hinges on the cards’ effects. A card-driven game, so to speak. What are they?
#1 : Guard – guess the number of another player’s hand; if you are correct, they are eliminated (you may not guess a 1).
#2 : Priest – look at another player’s hand.
#3 : Baron – compare cards with another player’s hand. The player with a lower number is eliminated.
#4 : Handmaid – you can’t be targeted by effects until your next turn.
#5 : Prince – force another player to discard their current hand and draw a new one.
#6 : King – switch hands with another player.
#7 : Countess – if the other card in your hand is the Prince (5) or the King (6), you must discard the Countess this turn; nothing else happens.
#8 : Princess – if you discard this card, you are eliminated.

There is only one each of cards 6-8 and several each of 1-7, but the point to note here is that in its entirety the cards’ effects and their interactions produce an ecosystem of hand deduction, card counting, bluffing (maybe), and a good amount of guesswork where players try to eliminate each other while keeping a high enough number for a possible endgame.

There is a good feeling of tension too in choosing to hold out with a higher-numbered card (which helps win a deck-drain round but rarely helps in eliminating other players) or keeping a lower-numbered card (which if kept until a strategic time can win the game via elimination, but will likely lose if the round ends in a deck-drain before you get “the golden chance” to use it).

(??) What about the premise of the game? The game is supposedly set up around suitors trying to wedge their way to gaining the Princess’ love. In a bout of romantic rivalry, apparently the best way to the Princess’ heart is to be the first to successfully deliver a given number of letters. And the best way to do that is to pass the letters to the palace’s various denizens. And well, hey! Some suitors may occasionally muster up enough courage and gusto to give it to the Princess herself; yes, that’s not so bad to do once in a while – say, in 1 out of every 16 love letters.

The theme is hard to make a sense of, feels thin and non-existent, and is very easy to gloss over as early as 2 rounds into the game. Depending on whether the theme was inviting to you or the theme had put you off this might be a bad or a good thing.

Suffice to say, though, there is real gameplay value behind the seemingly pasted-on theme – so regarding thoughts on theme don’t worry about not having the theme you wanted the game to feel like, you’ll still have a jolly good time. Or if you hated the theme, don’t worry about giving the game a try – you’ll find no hints or even a vague semblance of love or letters in the game at all. In fact it’ll feel more like “royal intrigue” or “race for the throne” than it is “palace romance”.

(+)Great wonderfully-illustrated cards and cubes/tokens packed in a neat velvet bag. High value for your money.

Replayability & Conclusion
It doesn’t last forever. Certainly, after many many plays you see yourself in familiar situations and set-ups. That being said, even after having burned through it by many nights of consecutive plays, the sheer lightweightedness and short duration coupled with the power to make a difference keeps it a very lucrative, worthwhile offer of deduction and take-that fun everytime it is proposed. Combo that again with the low price point and Love Letter is most certainly a strong recommendation for anyone’s collection.

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Professional Reviewer Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
59 of 66 gamers found this helpful
“A lot of game for such a small package!”

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.

Plays fast
Easy to learn (hard to master)

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

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.

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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4 Beta 2.0 Tester
77 of 87 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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Gamer - Level 2
60 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“Best Filler Game That I Own”

Love Letter has a total of 16 card, but don’t let that scare you. It’s so ingeniously created that it can be played over and over and not get repetitious. Along with the 16 cards they provide a cheat sheet card for what each card does, and how many there are in the deck. The cards also have nearly invisible stars that show you how many are in the deck.

I don’t even know how many times I’ve played this, but it is a lot. You can set it up in literally a few minutes, and explain how to play in roughly about the same time.

My only gripe is the box version that I got has square wooden bits that are the tokens of affection that you earn by wining each round. They are not great quality and don’t really add to the theme at all. Hearts (plastic hears are provided in the non-box version), letters, or something else would lend more to the theme.

This is great for anyone to play and found no problems playing with my wife, 10 and 12 year old, and is great for those moments you need a quick and fun game to play.

1. Fast Setup
2. Easy to explain rules
3. Low amount of cards but designed for interesting combinations
4. Great replay value
5. Good for many age groups (basic reading and simple math skills required)

1. Tokens of affection in box set look cheap and don’t add to theme

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Comic Book Fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
59 of 67 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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59 of 67 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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59 of 67 gamers found this helpful
“Small and simple”

Love letter is so simple and easy to teach that its accessible to anyone. The fact that the only components making it up are 16 game cards, 4 reference cards and some cubes, all of which fit nicely into the little pouch which comes with the game, means that you can easily fit it into your pocket. Many a time I have found myself getting this out while at the pub with friends.

A fantastic small game that you can take wherever you go makes this an essential part of any board gamers collection

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Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
AEG fan
Mage Wars fan
45 of 52 gamers found this helpful
“best with a group”

This is a great party game to help non-gamers have a fun night. A simple deduction and luck game, its’ simplistic rules and fast rounds will have everyone at the table enjoying the night.

the components are few and durable
the gameplay is very fast
players have options, but nothing that would induce a bad case of analysis paralysis

it doesn’t play well with 2 people (the luck factor is increased with each lower number of players)
the wooden cubes that count affection are very small

Overall this is a light game that almost everyone will be able to enjoy

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Military Service
60 of 70 gamers found this helpful
“Man enough to play a game from a velvet pouch?”

I bought this game because everyone said “It is a must have”. You know what they didn’t tell me? There are about a dozen cards, some wood cubes, and it stores in a velvet pouch. My first thought was “Great. The guys will love this.”.

How do you get past a game when you go up to the games table and you are like “Guys, you need to play this” as you pull our this velvet pouch that says Love Letter and you try to explain the base line of the game “The Queen has been imprisoned and you are trying to date the princess but you need to woo her with love letters.”.

Reading the description the game sounds horrible. I don’t want to play a game with princesses. So I figured I would look at the other elements of the game.

Each card has an ability. The Priest can look at other people’s card. So it is a peeping priest? Great….. After reading this I was ready to give up.

So we did something we didn’t expect to do. We played this game.

The rules were very easy to understand, and game play went quick. For some reason everyone loved the game.

I have played this with 2, 3, and 4 players. It is by far best with 4, and almost unplayable with 2. With 2 players it goes a little too fast. There isn’t any real element of teaming up on someone.

The art in the game is pretty neat, and there are so few pieces it isn’t over whelming for new players.

Anyway man up and try Love Letter. You might just like it.


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