Love Letter is another one of those games where I was initially put off by the theme, but once that is put aside a whole new world is there to discover. The idea of courtesans in Renaissance times just seems so boring to to me, I just can’t wrap my head around that theme. You know how it is, there is a theme of fiction, or games, that just rubs you the wrong way whether it be British crime dramas, Australian comedy or slapstick humour. No matter how hard you have tried in the past, you have been taught that it isn’t worth the effort, so you just give up. So it is with medieval courting, I just have no time for it, but seeing as Love Letter is so high on lists on BGG and pretty much everywhere, I had to give it a shot.
Love Letter is comprised of a measly 16 cards, that’s it, but there is such a depth of game play in the tiny box that it comes in. The goal is to get your Love Letter to the Princess at the end of the round, which means having the highest numbered card at the end of the round either when all others have been knocked out, or there are no cards left. It seems like such a simple premise, but I find myself captivated for one more game to see what will happen next. Who will take the ‘meaner’ approaches, who plays for themselves and who is happy to throw the cat among the pigeons.
Play is simple, with a ‘pick one, play one’ approach, you have a card to start the round, then pick a card of the main deck and decide which of these you want to play this turn. The cards range in ability from looking at others cards, swapping cards, naming and knocking out players or simply being knocked out should you play a certain card. At the start of the round a single random card is burnt from the deck, meaning that the card counters (which is legal) are going to have that wild card there to take into consideration.
It seems super simple, but there is such an element of strategy and bluffing in this game. If I think someone wants to swap with me, do I act as though I have better cards than I do or do I try to get the attention away from me because what I have is a known quantity.
The game can be played at the 2 player count, but given the amount of interaction between players I really think that it is far better suited to the top of 4 players.
This is a game that should be in the collection of any board gamer, as a matter of fact pretty much anyone. I often think how much more connected we could be as a society if we carried around something like this instead of nothing. I’m not going to rant about the evils of social media (because if you had it in this game, you could just slide straight into the Princesses DMs), but I do think that as humans we still struggle with social contact at times. Things like Love Letter are so great for this, you can keep this is a bag or pocket easily and it is a game that relies on the interaction of it’s players. It allows you to speak to one another, to laugh and be done in less than 20 minutes. These tiny moments of authenticity are so important in such a fast paced, self focused world, so do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of Love Letter when you get a chance!
You can pick up Love Letter for under $15 most places, including Amazon Australia