By Scott Schweinfurth

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Hands

“All of the eligible young men (and many of the not-so-young) seek to woo the princess of Tempest. Unfortunately, she has locked herself in the palace, and you must rely on others to take your romantic letters to her. Will yours reach her first?”

Love Letter caught my attention as soon as we opened the box as there was just a deck of about 20 cards, and 4 of those were player reference cards. But when we were done playing our first round in about a minute, that all made sense.

The point of Love Letter is to try and figure out what card the other players are holding as information slowly gets revealed. During each player’s turn you draw a card and add it to your hand (of one card), then play one of your cards in front of you and apply its effects. In this way, you are gaining more information and will hopefully be able to deduce what your opponents are holding. At the end of the round, the players all reveal their card and the highest number wins. However, each of the cards has an effect that can change things up. You may end up swapping your card with another player or forced to compare cards mid-round with the loser being eliminated. Each card you lay down and the results of that card gives everyone more information. And even though there are eliminations in the rounds, the rounds go by so quickly that players that are eliminated aren’t going to be sitting idle for too long.

With my playgroup, Love Letter is a perfect pallet cleanser, something light to play between bigger, heavier games. However, I also take it with me on road trips since it has such a small footprint and is easy to teach new players. In spite of its small size, Love Letter packs a wallop and I can recommend it to anyone interested in board games at any level.