Love letter is a bit of a misnomer, there’s no letter and there’s surely no love when you play this game. I love simple, clever games and Love Letter is certainly one of these. It has sixteen cards and it still manages to deliver like a boss
It’s best played with three to four players (the max) and it plays out in say twenty minutes or so. The first few games take a bit of getting your head around and being told repeatidly draw one, play one eventually gets through your skull.
You start the game with one of seven possible card types some of which have multiples. They are the usual motley crew of medieval archetypes, Priest, Princess, Duchess, King, Guard and so on. Each of them have a special power and each of them can dampen either you or your opponents ardour.
The idea is you need to end the round with a card higher ranked than your opponents or knock them all out of the round before the cards run out.
This can be achieved in a number of ways, the easiest being naming what card an opponent has by playing a guard (yes sometimes it’s pure guess). Forcing them to discard a particular card, punching them in the throat (not sure this is an official rule), Challenging them to have a higher card than you with the Duke. Other cards allow you to swap hands or view another player’s cards. It’s very much Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock and it works very well indeed. It is if you will perfectly formed.
The game is purely reactionary, you have to think on your feet (even when you’re sitting down) and there’s always a way to win. This sounds like a wine buff (there’s hints of blackberry) but there are hints of other games in here but none of them are overpowering nor is the game too similar to anything else. It very much stands on its own.
I’m always amazed how music works, a half dozen notes into a tune you have something unique, the same is true of love letter. It’s unique, it’s fun and it’s criminally cheap. You can pick it up for less than ten euro and you will play it again and again. Of all the essential games to have in your collection, THIS is top of the list
Go now and pick up a copy and if I’m wrong you can punch me in the throat at the next Knavecon