Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Seiji Kanai


No. of Players:
2 - 4

G@mebox Star



Gamebox author Doug Adams writes about the game:

Love Letter is a small card game, originally published in Japan. It was picked up by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) and published in an English edition in late 2012. It is one of the best filler games I have ever played, and a copy belongs in everybody's collection.

The theme of Love Letter is that the players are suitors, attempting to woo and court the Princess, a character in the game. There is a back story in the AEG edition that the city of Tempest is in turmoil, the Queen is accused of treason, and the Princess is upset. Our consoling letters are apparently supposed to help ease her distress.

Love Letter is a very small game. The components consist of only 16 cards. The AEG edition of the game is supposed to come with a velvet bag, and a few tokens, but my copy direct from Essen simply consisted of the cards, and a small rules booklet.

The cards in Love Letter represent characters in the game. They rank from 1, The Guard, up to 8, who is the Princess herself. The other characters are the Priest (2), Baron (3), Handmaid (4), Prince (5), King (6) and Countess (7).

The object of Love Letter is to win a number of hands, which differs based on the number of players playing. To win a hand, you either have to be the last player remaining in the hand, or if more than one player remains, have the highest value card when the deck has been played through.

Game play could not be easier. One card is discarded from the hand, face down, and each player is dealt one card - this is their "hand". Players then take turns clockwise around the table. On a turn, a player draws a card off the deck, and discards one of their two cards face up onto the table. The discarded card must be actioned, applying the effects of the text on the discarded card. Play proceeds to the next player, who does the same thing. Game play is fast and furious, and a round of Love Letter takes a couple of minutes.

Each character has an effect when it is discarded.

  1. Guard - name a player and a character - if that player is holding that character, they are knocked out of the round.
  2. Priest - look at the card another player is holding.
  3. Baron - choose another player and compare their hand cards - lowest card knocks that player out of the round.
  4. Handmaid - the player is immune from other character effects until the owner's next turn.
  5. Prince - choose another player, that player must discard their hand card and replace it off the deck.
  6. King - choose another player, and swap cards with them.
  7. Countess - she must be discarded if the other card the player is holding is either the King or Prince.
  8. Princess - if this is discarded for any reason, the owner is knocked out of the round.

Love Letter is a delicious mixture of luck, bluff, and deduction. It is very fast to play, produces a lot of laughter, and continues to surprise me with amusing card combinations, and situations, that arise. It is difficult to express in a review, but the game can reduce players to fits of laughter.

The luck may be a little too much for some; however in a game this short, the luck is perfectly acceptable. Sometimes you may be forced into knocking yourself out of the round, especially if you are holding the Prince and Princess. Holding both Barons at the same time can also be very dangerous.

Love Letter has been a terrific success with my game group, and we have played a lot of it since it has arrived. The rules are simple; the game play clever, the situations that arise can be very, very funny.

Love Letter is a brilliant game.

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Copyright © 2012 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany