Love Letter took the board game world by storm with fast play, easy set up, and a fast learning curve. Who wouldn’t want to try to win the Princess’s heart? Many editions of Love Letter have come and gone since then, and AEG decided to give it a little more love. Today we are looking at Love Letter Premium Edition. Could it restore your interest in chasing after the Princess, or encourage you to bust it out for larger groups? Read on to find out!
Out of the Box
Instead of the former cloth bag that other Love Letter games came in, this premium edition comes in a magnetized box. Inside it is decorated with portraits of characters you know and love, and some you will be introduced to. Included you will find:
- 32 tarot-sized game cards
- 8 player reference cards
- 25 wooden tokens of affection
- 1 Jester token
- 40 card sleeves
- 1 Rulebook
These cards are stored in a felt-lined storage system to keep the cards from getting mixed up, as set-up for 2-4 players does not use all of the cards.
What Has Changed
One of the biggest changes in this edition is the size of the cards! They are now tarot-card sized and much sturdier than the original game. Playing with 2-4 players, your rules are the same as they are in the original Love Letter game. For 2-4 players you will only use the Princess, Countess, King, 2 Prince cards, 2 Handmaids, 2 Barons, 2 Priests, and 5 Guards.
For 5+ players, you get to meet the new characters! You will use the other cards included in the game along with the cards used for 2-4 player games for a total of 32 cards.
Shuffle all cards and place them face down and remove the top card as normal, and have each player draw 1 from the deck. Play proceeds the same as a 2-4 player game. Please note that some cards will refer to all cards of a “Name a number” effect. For example, the Guard’s ability to name a card. If someone were to choose 4, the Handmad and the Sycophant would both be affected. In a 5-8 player game, the player to first get 4 tokens of affection wins. If there is a tie, which is more likely with more players, another round must be played among the tied players until there is a victor.
New cards you will see include the Bishop (9), who’s effect is similar to the Guard, except that if they are right they get to take an Affection Token, and he is still beat by the Princess. The Dowager Queen (7) forces a comparison which knocks out the higher numbered card. The Constable (6) allows you an affection token if he is in your discard pile when you are knocked out. There are many more new cards but we don’t want to spoil all the surprises for you. There are even 2 cards with a numerical value of 0 that can grant tokens or immediately knock out opponents, so play them wisely!
More to Love?
I can’t talk more highly about this edition. My fondness of the original game became stronger with the new version, if only because it was made sturdier. I didn’t feel like I had to fear the cards being torn or bent because they are significantly stronger. I also really appreciated the sleeves provided in this set. The beautiful envelope style art on the back really stresses the theme of passing along your letter to the highest rank, but I also appreciate that there were extras. I did not sleeve the reference cards as they are double sided, so I have 8 extra sleeves in case one of them gets a little too much love.
The tokens are much larger and I appreciate not having teeny tiny pieces to keep track of, clean-up is a bit easier in my opinion. We played plenty of games only utilizing what we know and love, but the new characters made the game brand new. Some of the abilities are similar but with different outcomes, so reading your cards correctly is important, especially for players that know everything there is to know about the original game. The art style falls right in line with the old set, so you’d never know the new cards from the old if you have never picked up the game before.
Love Letter has always been known for its replay value and it isn’t diminished with the premium edition. In fact, we have replaced our old Love Letter with the premium edition, if only for the card sizes. They will stand the test of time and play longer, as well as leave the option open for adding in more players. I suppose that people who disliked the original Love Letter wouldn’t care much about the expanded game, as there are no major mechanics that really change the flow of the game.
While we have loved many of the themed versions of Love Letter, not much beats the original. I can say however with confidence that this one was the one I anticipated most and will have a permanent place in our collection. If you are still smitten by Love Letter and want to give it some new life and a longer shelf-life, I would encourage you to pick the premium edition up. Love Letter Premium Edition retails for $29.99 and is well worth the extra cost. How badly do you want to reach the Princess, and are you willing to fight through a few more blockades to express your love?
- New cards maintain the beauty of Love Letter
- More players can join in
- New mechanics introduced with 5+ players
- Cards and tokens are better quality than original and will withstand more play time
- Quick, easy to learn
- Card size is the only difference if your game group doesn’t include more than 4 people