Love Letter was a huge phenomenon the past couple of years and pretty much spawned the “micro-game” category… at least in terms of popularity. Seiji Kanai is the designer of this game which contains just sixteen cards and some tokens, and it is published by Alderac Entertainment Group. In Love Letter each player is attempting to win the heart of the princess by getting her their romantic letters via the people closest to her (the cards).
Each player is dealt one card at the start of the game and one card is dealt to the box. On each player’s turn they draw one card, then choose which of the two cards in their hand to play. That card will have an effect after which play will move to the next player. The cards have various effects such as the guard who lets you choose a player and name a card. If the chosen player has the card that you named, then that player is out of the round. Or their is the Baron who lets you compare your hand with that of another player, and the player with the lowest value card is out of the game. The goal of Love Letter is the either be the last person standing, or if more than one player survive until the end of the deck, to be the player with the highest value card. The highest value card represents a person who can get your letter to the princess.
Love Letter is an interesting game, which is impressive given it’s minimalist nature. With the small number of cards, it is very possible to determine what is and isn’t in each player’s hand after a few rounds, so long as you have survived those rounds. The game plays quickly and easily fills the gaps between rounds at game night. The trick is understanding the nuances of the game. Some people can simply think that the game is all random and not realize that there are strategies to choosing which cards to name, which players to challenge, etc… Love Letter is so popular that it spawned a multitude of variations including Munchkin, Batman, The Hobbit, and more. (I own the Munchkin and original versions) In some cases the variation adds a new rule or card – Batman and The Hobbit both vary from the original in more than just artwork. Given the nature, speed, and relatively low cost of the game, Love Letter is a game that everyone should own