“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you“
-Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
If Princess Annette could only hear your words of love, surely she would see that your love is true! In Love Letter – Tempest Edition by Seiji Kanai from Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) 2-4 players age 8 and up are trying to woo the lovely Princess Annette of the city-state of Tempest. The princess has locked herself in the castle and will receive no visitors. Your only hope is to rely on members of the court to deliver your words of love to the Princess, surely once she reads them she will know that your love was meant to be!
Love Letter comes with the following components:
- 16 game cards
- 4 reference cards
- 13 tokens of affection
- 1 rule sheet
The game also comes with a small velour bag that holds all the components making Love Letter an ideal game to take with you on the go.
How to Play
Love Letter is very simple to play. Each player has a reference card indicating how many of each type of card is in the game allowing them to make educated guesses about which cards other players may be holding based on what cards have already been played. At the start of the round each player is dealt one card. Each card has a character, a number value from 1-8 and a short text entry explaining what to do when the card is played. On their turn a player draws a card from the deck. Then they play one of the cards from their hand in front of them executing the text on the card.
The goal of each round is to eliminate all of the other players, so your love letter will reach Princess Annette. This can happen in a number of different ways. Guard cards allow you to guess the card another player is holding, if you guess correctly that player is eliminated from the round. The Baron card allows you to compare the card in your hand with another player, if your card is higher, the other player is eliminated! Unfortunately, if your card is lower you are eliminated. Other cards force other players to discard their card, change hands with another player, or exit the round if they discard a particular card.
Players continue to draw one, play one until there is only one player left or the draw deck runs out. Once there is only one player left they have won the round and take a token to indicate that their love letter has reached Princess Annette. If the round ends due to the draw deck being empty and more than one player remains, each player adds the numerical value of all the cards they played in the round and the highest number wins the round.
The game ends when a player reaches a certain number of tokens (based on the number of players) representing their successful courtship of Princess Annette!
Love Letter is considered a micro-game but it packs a surprising amount of gameplay into just 16 cards. Each turn players are presented with an interesting decision of which card to play and which card to keep. As a round progresses each decision becomes harder as there is more information available to the other players. This helps keep the game tense and interesting. Love Letter also benefits from its short play time. Even when you are out of a round early you will likely only have to wait 3-4 minutes for another round to begin.
Love Letter is very luck-based due to the card draw mechanics and is a short, light game. This dependence on luck and the brevity of the game may not appeal to players looking for something heavier or more strategic. Love Letter functions best as a quick opener or closer to a game night rather than a main game.
Love Letter – Tempest Edition is an excellent example of a game doing what it sets out to do. Like a great romance, it may not be for everyone but it can be enjoyed by anyone. Highly recommended!
Thanks to AEG for providing a review copy of Love Letter.
- Very easy to teach even to non-gamers
- Games are quite short yet still offer a great deal of fun
- The brief time for each game makes this an ideal opener/closer for a game night
- Gameplay is primarily deduction and bluffing which means there is a fair amount of luck involved, particularly early in a game round
- The limited number of cards means that the replay value of the game may diminish over time.