At a Glance: Love Letter shines as a simple, small card game that does not seem to ever get stale.
Love Letter is a small card game for 2-4 players where the object of the game is to court the Princess by trying to secretly get your love letter delivered to her. The game only consists of 16 cards, and each person starts the game with only 1 card in hand. On your turn, you draw a card, choose one of the cards to play, then perform that card’s action. The cards are numbered in strength from the lowly Guards (1) up to the Princess herself (8). The object is to possess the highest card closest to the Princess so she receives your love letter, or to be the last person standing in a round. The game is played over a series of rounds until a player has a certain amount of affection tokens.
Love Letter is a deduction game, through and through, so the players will be trying to force the other players to reveal their identities. The cards have very different abilities, and even though the Guards are the lowest-ranked card, they allow you to guess what character another player is holding. If you guess right, that player must discard and is out of that round. If you ever get the Princess, which is the highest-ranked Card, you CANNOT discard it. If you are forced to, you are out of the round. There are certain cards that interact with each other in interesting ways. For instance, you MUST discard the Countess if you also have a King or Prince in your hand. The gameplay is connected somewhat to the theme as well, as the Priest forces another player to show you their card (think of this as a confession). There is certainly some randomness to the game, and sometimes when you win or lose, you don’t really feel you did much to actively affect that outcome. However, it is smooth, quick, and fun. Great for a filler, and something that you can quickly teach. Despite the simplicity, it doesn’t ever seem to get old or stale.
The game is very small, only 16 cards and some cubes that represent the tokens of affection. This is one of those games where I would DEFINITELY recommend that you sleeve the cards. There are so few cards that a tear or bend could ruin the game and give the character(s) away. It comes in a velvet bag, which is a very good presentation and a cool way to transport it. I do wish that the game accommodated a higher player count, but as far as social deduction games go, this one is hard to beat.
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