‘Love Letter’ game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
Did you love the thrill of passing notes in class to your crush? Seems like a strange premise for a game, but that’s the goal of Seiji Kanai’s Love Letter, a deduction card game for two to four players published by Alderac Entertainment Group.
In the game, players take the role of rival suitors each trying to deliver a love letter into the hand of the princess through other members of the royal court. The player who wins the most rounds wins the game.
The mechanics of Love Letter are very easy to learn. Each player starts with one card. The player draws a card, and then plays a card. The effect of that card is resolved and play moves to the left. The cards are numbered one to eight with each rank having a different effect, such as looking at other players’ cards, trading hands, or eliminating players from the round. There are only 15 cards in play each round and once there are no more cards to be drawn, the player with the highest ranking card wins the round.
I generally do not like elimination games but, unlike longer games such as Bang!, the rounds of Love Letter are short, usually running from three to five minutes. The whole game can be played in about 20 minutes.
Despite the simple rules and fast gameplay, I find Love Letter extremely engaging. There is a lot of psychology to the game as you try to identify what other players hold in their hand by what they played as their last card. It has all the hallmarks of a good card game, without convoluted rules or a full deck of cards.
I would recommend Love Letter to anyone. It’s a great palate cleanser to play between larger games, and its pocket size makes it convenient to play at the beach or waiting in line.