This is a game produced by AEG (Alderec Entertainment Group). It is a very simple game straight to the point, but based on the game mechanics you can involve as much strategy and head games as you want. This game was recommended to me by the Barbers. If you don’t know who they are read my blog on Boss Monsters! When I first was introduced to this game my initial thought was, Love letter? That doesn’t exactly sound like a game I would be into. Alas I was wrong its a great game, especially to pass the time.
The Set Up
Like I said this is a pretty straight forward game. to set up the game put the red cubes in the middle, shuffle the stack of cards, deal one card to each player. When you deal make sure you burn a card before you start play. That’s it, one card, and a stack of red cubes in the middle.
How to play
Now because this game is so easy to play, I’ll go over the basic rules and then cover some strategy points of the game.
The player to go first is the play that was last in a relationship. Before you play I recommend reading the flavor text/ story that the put in the beginning of the rules. It will possibly help you understand the rules and objective a bit better and also give you a bit of a laugh. The objective of the game is to win the affection of the princess and receiving a token of affection. to do this you want to have the highest card at the end of each round.
To start, draw a card and then play a card. The card you keep in your hand is the one that will help you win the game, but the card that you discard in front of you has an ability that will go into effect once played. I have posted the cards down below. Once you have resolved the ability on the card it is the next players turn. Another way and the most common way to win other than being the highest numbered card in the game is eliminate the other players. You can do this with most of the ability of the cards. An example of this is the guard. If I play a guard it says, “Name a non guard card and choose a player. If that player has that card he or she is out of the round.” Like i said pretty simple concept.
As you can see the cards are numbered 1 through 8, the card numbers are as follows.
- Guard – 5
- priest – 2
- Baron – 2
- Handmaid – 2
- Prince – 2
- King – 1
- Countess – 1
- Princess – 1
Strategy and Head Games
Love letter is simple, but you can play the cards and count the cards in a way where it can end in your favor. Knowing the number of cards is very important because, other than the burn card, (that’s why you burn a card so you can’t count the cards 100%) as players discard cards you can start to check those cards off the list. This comes in handy if you play a guard later in the game, by looking at the discarded cards you can get a better idea of what a player might have.
Pay close attention to what people discard, yes I just said that above but this is different. If someone lays down a lower card like a priest or a baron they have the ability of having pretty much every other card which isn’t always helpful but it can be in some cases. If someone lays a higher card such as a 6 there is a good chance of a higher card like an 8. Notice I did not say 7. The Countess must be discarded if you have a prince or a king. This card has a large amount of strategy and head game potential, I will give you an example; If I have the Countess in my hand early and a low card, like a guard, I can lay down the countess because most people will be thinking oh she has to lay it down. This leads your opponents down a dead-end giving you a few turns to get ahold of the game. Another strategy that I like to use quite often is guessing my own card after I discard the guard. This will really through your opponents off your sent because no one thinks twice about it.
The biggest thing that I’m trying to get across is pay attention. watch the cards that are discarded, after a card is played try to figure out what their other card is. I have a few more strategy moves up my sleeve and I would love to share them with you, just comment below!
Winning the Game
The game ends when one player has collects the correct amount of “tokens of affection.” The number required to collect are based on the number of players playing; 1-4.
Learning curve – 9.5
This is the easiest game to learn that I own. If someone has never played these types of games before it’s a great game to get your head on straight and warmed up. The strategy takes a little bit of time though.
The rules for Love Letter are very easy to understand. The rules are very scalable and if there is a squabble about the rules it is quite easy to go back and find the answer. The rule book itself is very short so if you are forced to reread the rules to find your answer it will only take a matter of moments.
Length – 8
Length is always a tough thing to judge. Just to be clear I am judging the game based on the length of time it take to play vs the attention captured while the game is being played.
Love letter has a great length with one exception. The game can seem quite long and boring if a player is getting out in the first round of turns. Other then that the game is a great 15 – 30 min game and for the most part it keep all players attentions captured.
Construction and durability – 6
This game has the worst construction I have ever seen in a game. (there are other versions with better construction) This game comes in a drawstring bag, one that looks as if it were to hold gold pieces back in the day, but not a good bag. The bag is the big problem with this; the bag quality is no good, the drawstring doesn’t seal the bag all the way and the cubes fall out, and its a bag so it doesn’t protect the cards from transportation.
This is just apart of the nature of the game but because there are so few cards they get handled quite a bit and will show wear and tear much faster then other card games. I highly recommend getting sleeves. A 6 seems a bit generious but since this can be fixed by purchasing the version with a box and sleeving the cards then it doesnt hurt the game as much.
Final Thoughts – 8.5
Love letter is a fantistic game, especially for beginners needing a warm up round before getting into the far more intense games. Yes the construction is not what it should be but the game it self proved a great amount of entertainment. I really enjoy finding new ways to use the cards or force players to use the cards against themselves. For all this I give it an 8.5
I am not affiliated with Alderec Entertainment Group (AEG). I am reviewing this game of my own free will.
I do not own these photos.