Love Letter is one of my favourite games. In the past, I would not have expected a microgame to be among my favourites. I used to be strictly a heavy Eurogames guy. It took me a while to appreciate the genius in simple games and in microgames. Now that I’m designing games myself, I’m most fond of creating small and clever games.
This above is one of the Japanese editions of Love Letter. This one was published by Arclight. I love the art in this edition.
This copy was a gift from the game designer himself – Mr Seiji Kanai. I still have not actually played this copy, because it feels like something I need to put on an altar and not on a gaming table. I will need to sleeve the cards before I play it.
This edition contains two characters I have not seen before. The King and the Countess here are mini expansions. It is recommended that you add the King only when you have 5 players. He doesn’t have any value. Whoever draws the King is immediately out of the round. So this is a card which injects some luck and excitement into the game. Every round the players will be waiting for the bomb to explode. Story-wise, the King dotes on his daughter and doesn’t allow her to have any boyfriend yet. So all love letters he sees are torn up.
The Countess is a number 7, and works like the original Countess in the first English edition. If you have the Countess and the 5 or 6 card, you must play the Countess. In this edition, the Countess is a variant. In the standard game you use the Count instead. The rule for the Count is less forgiving. If you have the Count and the total of your hand cards is 12 or more (i.e. your other card is 5, 6 or 8), you are immediately out of the round. When you have the Count, it will be a tough decision whether to discard it. If you hold on to it, it is like playing Russian Roulette. But if you discard it, it seems such a waste for such a high card.
This is the current standard English edition of Love Letter. It comes in a red bag. No box. I personally prefer having a box. The back of the reference card is a broken letter seal.
These are the characters in the game. Compared to the first version, now we have two new characters, 0 and 6 – the spy and the chancellor. Previously the king was the 6. He is now a 7. The countess is shifted from 7 to 8, and the princess from 8 to 9. Yeah, the princess is prettier now. The art is just typical boardgame art. It’s okay, just not very exciting.
0 – The spy’s power is if you are the only person to have played any spy by the end of the round and you are not yet out of the round, you score one point. That means within a round there may be two players each scoring a point, or even one player scoring 2 points. This may speed up the game.
6 – When you play the chancellor, you draw two cards. You examine the three cards you have in hand, then place two at the bottom of the draw deck. This lets you control what the last cards in the deck are. You will have crucial information if the round goes all the way to the end.
I have played this newer standard edition of Love Letter, but just a few times. I’m am not used to it yet and still prefer the original. With this copy of the game, you can easily return to play the original rules by removing a few cards. Not an issue at all, unless you are not happy with the princess being a 9 instead of an 8. I have seen the spy and the chancellor in action, but I have not formed any opinion yet.
I can’t stand not having a box, so I found a box for the game. I use the velvet bag just to store the point tokens.
My precious princess with the designer’s signature.
I was rather unlucky this round. I drew both the princess and the countess in the early game. These are the two highest cards and it is bad news to have them too early. They don’t actually have powers. They handicap you instead. The other players all played guards, and they managed to guess that I had the princess. I was promptly eliminated from the round.
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