Valentines Day is just around the corner – whether you love it or hate it, or really don’t care. My opinion on the day is that most people do easily go overboard, and there doesn’t need to be anything flashy – but if you’re going to give me a reason to celebrate love I will celebrate it. There’s really no reason not to!
But whether you’re going big or staying casual, if you’re a board game person in want to play something love-themed on the special day, one of the first games you may consider is Love Letter.
What is Love Letter?
Love Letter is a trick-taking, bluffing and trumping card game by AEG. Played in rounds, this game is pretty small (depending on which one you get) and is pretty easy to just put in a pocket or purse and take anywhere.
There’s a story around of it of a Princess saddened by the arrest of the Queen, and her family and friends trying to cheer her up by delivering a love letter. It passes from hand to hand with the others trying to stop your letter and get their own through to win the Princess’s heart is this time of tragedy.
What’s in the Box?
There’s a few different packaging options, but the cheapest and most transportable is a little red bag. It comes with the playing cards, rules, 4 rule-reminder cards, and red point cubes, that all fit nicely inside.
Playing Love Letter?
You set up by shuffling the cards, putting them all face down and removing one card – this makes sure you can only card count to a point.
Each player then takes one card – and this is their hand.
The game then plays by going around to each player, and during each player’s turn draws one card and discards one to a discard pile (either that one or their hand). They then use the effect of the discarded card, whether it is good or bad.
There are 16 cards, with 8 different characters. Here are there effects:
The Guard (#1, 5 of them) allows you to try to guess another player’s hand. A correct guess eliminated the player from that round.
A Priest (#2, 2 of them) allows you to looks at another player’s hand.
A Baron (#3, 2 of them) has you compare hands with another player. The hand whose card number is smaller is eliminated from the round.
A Handmaid (#4, 2 of them) will protect you from other cards until your next turn.
A Prince (#5, 2 of them) allows you to force one player to discard their hand.
The King (#6, 1 of them) allows you to trade hands with one player.
The Countess (#7, 1 of them) must be discarded if caught with the King or Prince.
The Princess (#8, 1 of them), if discarded, the player who discarded her will auto-lose the round.
You play a round until one person is left standing, and they receive an affection token. Then you shuffle everything up, repeat the set up and play another round. The first person to a certain number of affection tokens wins (2 players: 7, 3 players: 5, 4 players: 4)!
- Hers: This is the sort of game where you need to play the players a bit too. You need to keep a poker face and mess with their mind – so romantic.
- His: Don’t be to hasty to use the guard or always use it as a throw away, try to do the math and make an educated guess.
Quick and easy to play, good to take on a trip or to play in between big box games.. but it can get monotonous to play over and over, not much replay value at all.
If you mix up decks with different effects it could be interesting, but I haven’t played the other themed versions to much so I’m not sure if that’s an option yet!
Overall, I’d give it a 4/10.
- 2-4 players
- 20-30 minutes
- 10+ years old